Wrap Up

Wrap Up | June 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my June wrap up, wow it feels so weird typing that. Already halfway through 2020. This month was quite an improvement reading wise for me, I actually did some reading. I am not quite sure what happened in May and what put me out of the mood to read, but thankfully it has passed and I ended up reading quite a bit. Here are the books I read, my backlist checkin and my monthly stats!


Read 2

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I felt that this book was average for me. Not amazing and not bad at all, it was just in the middle. I enjoyed the world, but I was not invested in the plot or the characters. I was just someone following along. Now, this could be because as I stated earlier I don’t read a lot of YA anymore and I am annoying specific when it comes to fantasy. I really did enjoy the world building in this novel and I feel like Schwab has a lot of talent when it comes to this. I will say I am happy that I gave it a try and finally read it. I always had the feeling of “Fear of Missing Out” when it came to this series, now that question has been answered. Thank you for picking my book Melinda!

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UntamedUntamed by Glennon Doyle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A very interesting collection of stories to make up the author’s memoir. I found the stories shared to be heart warming and raw. The author really sharers herself with her readers, but also gives them something to reflect on.

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Twelfth NightTwelfth Night by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review to come!

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Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein, #1)Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, I felt that this novel has a lot of potential, it was dark, twisted and let’s face it inspired by one of the most popular horror novels of all time. I really enjoyed a lot about this book, but what lost me was the characters actions. Sometimes I just felt like, wow, they are meant to be detectives? Their actions just were not believable. That aside, I did enjoy parts of it and I am curious enough to be thinking about continuing this series. That is a big deal for me, because I tend to hate series.

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Full Dark, No StarsFull Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1922-5/5 psychological and dark real world horror

Big Driver-2/5 the assault is r*ape.

Fair Extension-3/5 – interesting, but I wasn’t really feeling it.

A Good Marriage-5/5 Just when you thought you knew someone completely, another story were man is the true monster.

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Anansi BoysAnansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a really interesting story sett in the same world as American Gods. It was a twisting tale and as always Gaiman has a way with words. As always the writing was done very well and the story was imaginative to say the least. The reason I took a few stars off it because there were a few parts I became bored with, but over all I really did enjoy it. If you liked American Gods, I think you will like this as well.

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Before the Coffee Gets ColdBefore the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this and I really want to read more from this author. I really liked how the author mixed the magical with the mundane to create such a heart warming story.

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Middle Mark Books 2


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 6


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | June 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reading check in! This month is already off to a wonderful reading start. Last month I read so little I didn’t even post a Middle Mark post, but today I can happily say I read enough to warrant a post. At this point my reading has spanned both non-fiction and fiction as I make efforts to better educate myself and continue to grow. Now, on to the books!


Read 2

I'm Judging You: The Do-Better ManualI’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As the descriptions says this book talks about “all of the topics your mama told you never to bring up at polite dinner parties.” There were a wide range of topics in this book from social media sharing to race. But, they were all important ones that needed to be addressed. The author does a really great job of writing no-nonsense and felt like a friend was talking to you. I realized a lot while reading this book and I highlighted so much that I want to go back on and reflect some more.

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The Glass HotelThe Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The major theme of this book is moral and moral compromise. Throughout this story many characters are faced with making a decision and coming to terms with their own morality or lack there of. This could be getting into a relationship with a wealthily man not for love, overlooking how greedy they really are. This was an interesting read for sure, but I thought it would not be so focused on the 2008 economic disaster. I thought it would have been more balanced between the three settings put forth in the description. Regardless of this, as I said, this was an interesting read and I did not regret it at all.

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QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres.

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Currently Reading 2

I am currently reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I am enjoying it a ton and I should be finishing it today at some point.  I am sitting at around 60% and that chunk I read in one sitting, soo you can see why I am so confident it is going to be finished today. After I finish this I am going to be jumping into my buddy read with Jenna and Reg, we are reading Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz, I have never read a book by this author so I am really intrigued.


What was the last book you read, did you like it?

How are your reading month coming along? 

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | May 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to this months reading wrap up! This month has been a stand out for me for this year and not for the best reasons. This year I have managed to read double digits every single month before this month, this month I struggled to read what I did read. I am not really sure what the reason was, I was not in a reading slump. I think I was just tired, I am not really sure how to explain it. I tried to turn it around in the later part of the month by doing a challenge, you can read about that in my post called, Challenge | One Week Reading Before Bed. This was nice because it kind of restarted my habit of reading, I am thankful I gave it a go. Well, even though this was not the best reading month, I still managed to read a few books and here they are!


Read 2

The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since this is the fifth book in the series, I don’t want to say so much. But, I will say that this is a wonderful continuation of the series. As always the writing is wonderful, the research put in is apparent, and the characters are still written amazingly.

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The Taming of the Shrew (Barnes  Noble Shakespeare)The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this was a pretty alright read. There were parts that I really disliked about this play. First how t8765423533523242e “shrew” is treated really kinda pissed me off to no end. I might have annotated this with a few “WTF!” throughout. I did like the other aspects such as the “pretending”, I wont say more than this because I don’t want to ruin this play for others. Honestly, part of me wants to rate this lower than I have as more time passes. Might come back and do that.

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MooncakesMooncakes by Suzanne Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a wonderful graphic novel. I loved the relationship characters, a plot through and through.

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MiddlegameMiddlegame by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually wrote up a whole review on this book for a my series called, Someone Picks My Books. If you want to hear all of my thoughts and why I enjoyed it so much please check out my review here: Someone Picks My Books | Evelyn Reads | Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

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The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fantastic end to the series and it took some surprising turns and new characters. I felt like a lot of growth happened between book 2 and 3 for quite a few characters as well. I really liked how a lot was resolved, but also the ending leaves a lot open as well to let you think of what might have happened.

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Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved the use of novels and story telling throughout this novel and how it impacted the main characters imagination. This was a very good novel and I enjoyed reading it immensely. I might even like this more than Pride and Prejudice.

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Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 10


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

How did you do in your OWLs? 

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Personal Reading Sprints with ASMR

Let's Talk

Hello and welcome to a bit of a different post. I have not don’t a discussion post in a long time and I felt like doing something a bit different since I have not really been reading as much as I normally do. Anyway, my last post Challenge | One Week Reading Before Bed I talked about how I did a reading challenge where I read every night before bed. Well, I felt like I should share something else as well.


For the past few years or so, I have really fallen in to love a specific type of ASMR video. I don’t mean the food eating, sand cutting, and stuff like that ASMR, I am talked about ASMR Ambience. I love ambience and background noise any time I doing something, I really don’t enjoy the silence. So, when I came across this genre of videos I was really excited. For me, this is great to fall asleep to, get stuff done, but also the perfect method to set up a reading sprint for myself.

A lot of the videos I watch are around an hour, for me this is the perfect amount of time for a reading sprint. Putting on one of these ASMR Ambience videos I know the amount of time I have for a task or in this case reading. Also, it is great when you can find one that fits the setting of your book, it really ads to the experience. Now, when I use these videos for a reading sprint I don’t need to keep track of the clock or get startled out of my book by an alarm.

While reading it is a great experience for me.  I don’t get distracted by sounds around my room or home. It also keeps those I live with away, they can hear I have these videos on and it is a signal at this point that I am busy.  These videos allow me to just focus on my book, which is the whole point of a reading sprint in my option. But, as I mentioned before it can even pull you more into reading if you can find one that can go with the world you are falling into.

When the video is done and my hour long sprint is over, as I said I am not startled out of my book. Things just go silent. For me this is a lot more beneficial to my reading experience. If I am in the middle of a sentence, page, or chapter. I can finish without having to rush to turn off an alarm that is getting louder and louder as I try to ignore it. These allow me to find a natural stopping place, which I always need to stop at. I can never stop reading in the middle because I will forget my spot.

Anyway, this is my experience and I thought I would share it. I feel like this has made a good impact on my personal reading habits and experience.


My Favorite ASMR Ambience Youtube Channels


Do you participate in reading sprints?

Do you listen to ASMR?

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Writing and More

Bullet Journal | April 2020

Bullet Journal

Hello and welcome to my April Bujo post! This month is actually my last month in this notebook, which is a little sad since there are so many memories attached to it. But, I am kind of execited about my new notebook as well. It feels like a refreshing new start and I kind of wanted to pull that into this month’s spreads. My new notebook has a snake on the front so I wanted to bring the snakes to April as well. Now, without further ado, here is my bujo spreads for April.


Items Used

Archer & Olive Bujo

Tombow MONO drawingpen 05

Inspiration 

thebujophase on instagram


This is my magical readathon spread this time around. I left another page blank if I want to make a progress spread, but I have not made up my mind if I I want to or not. I did want to make a spread with the information for my career and optional training I am trying for. If you want to see the books I picked for this years OWLs, you can see that in my post,  To Be Read | April | #OWLsReathaon2020.

This is my monthly spread for the month. I am giving this new spread a try, using a method called Dutch Door. I decided to have my daily page count present on the peek through. I figured with the OWLs it would be fun.

On the other side of the Dutch Door I put my Blog Notes and my TBR list and a little print out of a snake. I am looking forward to using this during April, it is always fun to try something new.

This month I made my weekly layout a bit different this month. I wanted to give each day its space and its own to do list space. With working from home I really felt the need to keep everything in one place, I am hoping this spread and and cute snake can help me with that.


Do you enjoy snakes?

Are you participating in the OWLs? What are you reading for the OWLs? 

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Goals

Reflection | 2020 Goals, 3 Month Checkin

Reflection

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post reflecting on my 2020 reading goals! I am excited to take a bit of a dive into my goals and see where I need to focus and where I am doing well. At this point of the year it is so early I am not too worried about anything just yet, but I feel like if I don’t keep an eye on it they will fall to the way side. So, here are my 2020 reading goals and where I currently stand on them.


  1. Read a shortlist: Man Booker 2019
    • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
    • ✔️Ducks, Newburyport  by Lucy Ellmann
    • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo Started
    • An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
    • Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
    • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
  2. Read 50 books, 21 books read. 
  3. Read all backlisted books, 46 books in all. Down to 27.
  4. Read 30,000 pages. Read 7,661 pages so far. 
  5. Read 16 nonfiction books. Read 5 so far. 
  6. Read 16 books from the library. Read 5 so far. 
  7. Read a book from each continent
  8. Read a book recommended by Joe Hill or Stephen King
    • The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
    • Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman Purchased 
    • Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican
    • Frankenstorm by Ray Garton
  9. Read a Shakespeare play a month, you can join the fun by going to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group.
    • January: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • February: Othello
    • March: Hamlet

Currently, I am feeling pretty good about my goals. I have at least made some little progress on every single one. The one I am currently the most concerned about is reading a book from each continent. A lot of the time when I pick up a book I have no idea where it is going to take place so this is the one that is more of a guess for me. I should search for a few books that I know for sure take place in the continents that remain, Antartica is always a fun one to try and do.

If you have any suggestion for books set around the world and Shakespeare places I would love to hear them. I have a bit of a list on Shakespeare from a few people. So, don’t worry if you have made a recommendation, I have written it down!


How are your goals going?

Have you decided to change any of yours or introduce new ones?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | February 2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reaching check in! This month started off a bit stressful if I am to be completely honest, so I am actually surprised I was able to finish a book let alone more. So, I am very happy with my wrap up, even if I did already have my first low rating of the year. I will say I am forseeing my reading totals to fall from this point forward because I am starting something new I am really excited about and will be sharing soon. But, I will give a very bad hint though: I love learning something new and it being self directed. Like I said a bad hint, but anyway, on to the books! 😂


Read 2

The LangoliersThe Langoliers by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a very imaginative take on a children’s night time scary story come to life mixed with the Bermuda Triangle. It was very interesting to see how King’s characters, who were all there by accident, reacted to the situation. I don’t want to say too much because I feel like if I said anymore I would ruin it, but I will say that you can read this on it’s own or inn the short stoy collection of Four Past Midnight.

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God CountryGod Country by Donny Cates

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I can’t say for sure why I wasn’t drawn into this volume, but I just didn’t get into it. Not sure if it was the plot, how the dialog was placed on the page or the layout. It just fell flat unfortunately. The artwork was wonderful though and the idea was great.

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Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I don’t want to say much on this book at the current moment because I am going to explore this novel a bit more when I read a few more of the books on the 2019 Man Booker Shortlist. I will say at this time the main reason I did not like this book was due to the formatting. This is a very personal thing, so I feel like a lot of people wont be as bothered by it, but that is what I shall say for now.

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The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a very typical enemies to lovers type of book, but I will say I really like the way the author built upon that trope. I really enjoyed the plot and the side things as well, the writing was do very well. I will say there were times I wanted to just skip ahead just because I just wanted to know what will happen and I was not really fully invested in the journey.

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No One Is Too Small to Make a DifferenceNo One Is Too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful collection of speeches made by Greta Thunberg.

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Currently Reading 2

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, I am currently 37% through. At this point I am enjoying the book once I pick it up, but for some reason I don’t feel enticed enough to pick it up.  I don’t understand why my brain does this sometimes.

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, I am currently only 8% through this Tome and I am really enjoying it so far. It is written very well and I am surprised how quickly I am reading it.


 What was the last book you finished?

What book are you currently reading?

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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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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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