Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | August

Hello and welcome another check in for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. If you would like to learn more you can look at my initial post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. This month I read The Comedy of Errors and errors there where!


This book is just a mixture of mess ups and miscommunication. It kinda reminded me of the exaggerated outcome of the telephone game, if you are familiar with that. The main aspect of this play is mistaken identity, which has been present in quite a few of his other plays that I have read this year. In this play in particular it it comes from not one, but two sets of twins and their loved ones having no idea who is who and let the mayhem begin.

I have to admit, that this is one of the better plays when it comes to mistaken identity. There were a few times where I giggled to myself while reading this, which is great because not a lot of his comedies have actually made me laugh or feel humor. Maybe I am finally getting Shakespeare’s sense of humor? Either way, without giving away too much, there is a lot of misunderstandings, surprises, and puns galore!

This review isn’t that long due to the fact that I feel like a lot of the humor would be removed from this play if it is really discussed as much as I normally do. I would rather you read it for yourself and truly get the laugh out of it than being ruined by my review. But, overall I think this is one of the better comedies as I said earlier. I think it is worth checking out if you like his other plays or even has not read any of his comedies before.


Next month I am reading another comedy by William Shakespeare called Much Ado About Nothing, I have heard a great deal about this one so I am excited!

What are your thoughts on this play?

What is your favorite play by Shakespeare?

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | June & July

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to my check in for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. If you would like some more details about the challenge you can find that in my post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I would like to apologize I missed posting this last night, but better late than ever. I decided to combined the past two months instead of making two separate posts. Anyway, here are my thoughts on Twelfth Night and The Tempest!



Twelfth Night

So, like many of his works, this one starts with a bit of a tragedy. I think this is one of my “ugh” things when it comes to Shakespeare, he reuses a lot of the same plot points, but dresses them up differently if that makes sense? Anyway, more on this specific play. This play was packed with mistaken identity, disguises, and of course a love story of sorts. This play really thrived on a bunch of misunderstandings and a lot happened that I don’t want to go into it because of spoilers. I will say this is not near the low bunch of the plays I have read by him. I cannot say no to some magic into a story, so that alone won some points for me. I also was not completely disappointed as to how it ended as well.

The Tempest

There are a few things I really liked about this play in particular the first being a ship wreck that reminded me of Odyssey in a way. I am not sure if this was the purpose, but I enjoyed the connection I made. I also liked that in this play there was also magic and magical creatures. As I said about Twelfth Night, I am always a sucker for it. I ended up giving this play 4 stars because I was a bit more into actually reading this and it kept my attention for than Twelfth Night did. It is one of the Shakespeare plays that I actually would not mind reading for a second time, I think Macbeth is the only other one on that list.


Next Month

What is your favorite work by Shakespeare?

What are you thoughts on these plays?

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TBR

To Be Read | July 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to my monthly TBR, where I name some books and chances are I wiill end up reading others ones because I am a total mood reader. Anyway, there are two that I must read for a few challenges, but the other three that are listed here I really want to read. But, as I said I am a mood reader, so let’s see what happens. Here are the books I plan on reading!


The Books

The Tempest by William Shakespeare, this play is my July pick for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I really have no idea what it is about, so I don’t have an opinion on how I am going to feel or a prediction.

March by Geraldine Brooks, I picked this up on vacation in December and lately I have really wanted to read it. I have high hopes because it is Little Women inspired, it is meant to be following the father of that story during the Civil War. Plus, I feel like it will remind me of my vacation and I really miss traveling at this point, even day trips.

The Five by Halle Rubenhold, this was a gift from Reg for my birthday and I am really excited to learn about Jack the Rippers victims because I honestly have no idea who they were, but I know a lot about the crime.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas, this was picked for me to read for my Someone Picks My Books series on my blog. I have read books by this author in the past, but I have not read her last one or two. So, we shall see how this one fairs!


What are you planning to reading this month?

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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

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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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | May

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the fifth installment of my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge! If you would like some more details about the challenge you can find that in my post called,  Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. It feels so long since I started this challenge and I have found some I really loved and some I really didn’t enjoy. May was an interesting one fore sure. Before we jump into this review/discussion/rant I just want link to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. And yes, I said rant this time around.


The Book

This months story The Taming of the Shrew. The title alone had me a bit apprehensive about this book, but my twitter followers picked it so I was going to follow through and read it. According to a quick search this was written around 1950.


My Review

I am going to honest, I am kind of torn on this one. This is really a cruel story in quite a few ways.  A well off man tricking a man into thinking he is a lord just for the fun of it. Taming a woman and making her not herself like she is an animal. Just all around manipulation in this book. I will say it was imaginative and like nothing I have read personally.

This starts off with a noble man of sorts feeling like they have so much power and influence they can just totally mess with someones life with fun. It put a really horrid taste in my mouth. I am really hoping Shakespeare was attempting to ridicule higher ups in society, if that was not the case I might actually hate him. The fact that this privileged person felt they could just do that was irritating and I was so irate while reading this. Everyone just went along with it like it was normal! I don’t understand.

Now the whole title of this play had me worried, like I mentioned earlier. Lexico describes one of the definitions of this word as “A bad-tempered or aggressively assertive woman.” I will also put forward when I hear the word tame, I think of a pet or animal, not a human being. So, I was kind of waiting for someone treating a lady as less than. Well, I was correct. The shrew in this story was treated like a jerk, only married to get her out of the way so others could marry her younger sister. While she was not nice I liked that she was strong willed and knew what she wanted. Well, her “husband” and I put it in quotations for a reason, he just was hired to marry her to get her out of the way treated her like garbage and manipulated her into being brainwashed and subservient. It honestly made me super mad and I hated every moment of this.

The more I write about this story and think about it, honestly the more I dislike it. Now, don’t get me wrong I know this was written around 1590, women had no place in society and her not seen as equals and it is apparent in many of Shakespeares plays where the father and husband have the final say and such, but I felt like this play just took it to a whole new extreme. IN the past plays I have read women were still allowed to be themselves and were not manipulated in the same manner and just seen as a creature that need to be moved out of the way so men could get to eh more desirable sister.

I really don’t want to say much more because I feel like this is already a rant. I really am hoping deep down that Shakespeare wrote the play with these two very troubling plot lines where two people are just totally manipulated as social commentary and didn’t just write it because it would be “fun” and “enjoyable”.


Next months pick is Twelfth Night, a huge thanks to those who voted in the poll!


Have you ever read The Taming of the Shrew? If so, what were your thoughts?

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | April

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the April edition of the 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, you can find my original post with an explanation here: Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.This has been the best month for Shakespeare so far here in 2020. I will warn you, this month might just be a gush fest, which I never thought would have happened when I dreamed up this challenge for myself last year. Before we jump into this review/discussion I just want link to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. Now, on to Macbeth!


The Book

This months story Macbeth in my eyes is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It is referred too so often, even by those who have never even heard the play because it has continued to be a part of pop culture. This play is thought to be first preformed around 1606, so it is quite old.


My Review

So like I said, this review is going to be a huge gush fest and I am not sorry. I honestly never thought I would be gushing about a Shakespeare play, but here we are. I annotated this book up and down and I think it is one of my most written in books that I own.

What I really liked about this book was all of the subtle references to various gods/demons that you may not normally know unless you know their symbols and such. There is an obvious mention of Hecate and Beelzebub, but there is also hints to The Morrigan. But, with both of these if you are not familiar with their stories a lot can be lost. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, moon, and ghosts. Which, in this play are very common themes that were very interesting and engaging.

Two things t really stood out to me, is the use of use of three and the paradoxes used in this play. The three witches, saying things three time for effect such as the Second Apparition and Macbeth in Act 4, Scene 1, Doctor and Lady Macbeth  in Act 5, Scene 1, and Macbeth in Act 5, Scene 5 just to name some outside of the witches themselves. Now, the paradox’s in this play are throughout, but a few of the examples I can easily find are Macbeth and his wife being great and wonderful hosts and then murder someone, Porter in Act 2 Scene 3 and Lady Macbeth in Act 2, scene 2. These writing methods really pull the story together and give it a particular feel.

There is one more thing that really stood out to me and it was the witches say with words. They were very playful with their words and what they said was borad, yet specific. One of the instances that stand out to me is their clue at who would kill Macbeth. They said that Macbeth cannot be killed by someone born by a woman, which you would think is impossible at first, but it is very possible. C-sections now a days happen all the time, but in the past babies were also removed from their mothers. It really shows that you must pay attention, very close attention to the words in the play. I feel like I would get even more out of it if I were to read it a second time. I also saw a parallel between the way you interpret these witches and fae in popular books. They can never lie, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be tricky.


Next months pick is The Taming of the Shrew. I know absolutely nothing about this play so I am a tiny bit worried, but I have high hopes as well because of the success of Macbeth in my book. Thanks to those who voted in the twitter poll!


Have you ever read Macbeth? If so, did you enjoy it?

Which play do you think I should look into for June?

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Hauls

Read 5, Buy 1 | March 2020 Haul

Read 5, Buy 1

Hello and welcome to another check in for my Read 5, Buy 1 challenge. I don’t know about you, but I have really had the itch to buy as of late and I will admit it, I went a bit above my Buy 1, but thankfully not by much! The ones I did go and buy that were not covered by my Read 5, Buy 1 were all Shakespeare plays for my Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. So, they were books I would have had to buy anyway. Anyway, here are the books I read and the books I bought in March!


The Breakdown

Alexande Hamolton by Ron Chernow

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepety

Bought: The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silvere

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley HarpA Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper

Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper

Journey to Jo’burg by Beverley Naidoo

Angel Mage by Garth Nix

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

Bought: The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Full Thottle by Joe Hill

The Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller

Bought: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas


Extra Books – Shakespeare 2020 Challenge

King Lear by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare


Overall, I don’t think I did too badly with this challenge. I read 15 books, but I only added 9 books so my Owned TBR as a whole has gone down this month. A win in my book! I am hoping with the OWLs in April I will be doing even more reading, but so far I have done a bit of ebook buying this month. So, we shall see how this social distancing affects my book buying and my TBR.


Are any of these books on your TBR?

What is the last book you added to your TBR?

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TBR

To Be Read | April | #OWLsReathaon2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to another TBR post! This month I am super excited because it is April and that means it is time for the OWLs Examinations! If you are unfamiliar with the OWLs Readathon, it is a month long Harry Potter themed readathon hosted by Book Roast on youtube. She does an outstanding job, she puts in so much effort and I could honestly just gush about her for a while. She is a very smart, talented, and dedicated woman. If you want to hear all the information from the creator herself ; the magical careers, prompts and bonus trainings you can do so on announcement video here: Year 3 of O.W.L.s Magical Readathon – Announcement! | Book Roast and you can find the prompt and career information on the Magical Readathon website here: magicalreadathon.com – 2020 Magical Readathon Links


This round I am going to take it a bit easier on myself and I picked the career of Seer. This one only entailed reading three books for the OWLs and three books for the NEWTs later this year. I picked this one for a few reasons, the first being it is interesting. The second being it gives me the opportunity to go for a few of the “extras” this year. So, I will first explain the books I am reading for Seer and then go into the bonus stuff a bit more.

Prompts

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title

Astronomy – Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside

Divination – Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use random number generator


Animagus and Magical Store things

Animagus Training 

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside your favorite genre

Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

Transfigurations – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shape shifting

Magical Shop Management 

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside your favorite genre

 


Another Unrelated Book

I am buddy reading The Magicians series with Jenna and Reg and I will probably fit The Magician King by Lev Grossman into a prompt somewhere, but I did not just yet. Since it is something I plan on reading I wanted to share it anyway.


Are you joining in for the OWLs this month?

What career did you pick? 

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | March 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my monthly wrap up for March. This month I was very happy with the amount of books I read, I am keeping up with my pattern of double digits! I don’t want to make a huge introduction because I am not really in the mood to write currently, but here are the books I read this month!


Read 2

Journey to Jo'burg: A South African StoryJourney to Jo’burg: A South African Story by Beverley Naidoo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*Book given by the publisher via aWunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review*

If you are looking into a read that would help expose your children to this part of history, I would say that I think this is a good option to explore further. It was a quick read, the plot was well done and I felt like it handled the explanation of this part of history well for the intended audience. Full Review: Book Review | Journey to Jo’Burg by Beverley Naidoo

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Angel MageAngel Mage by Garth Nix

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved the Sabriel series and his writing. Even in this book I enjoyed the writing a ton, but I just couldn’t really get into the story and I am having a hard time pin pointing why. It was a unique and unlike anything I have read so I wasn’t bored by the predictability or anything like that.

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Nothing to See HereNothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I just could not get into this book, it was a very interesting idea though. It just did not pull me in and I had to kind of trudge on instead of reading fully because I was enjoying it.

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The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)The Magicians by Lev Grossman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I was really expecting to not like this book so much because it is always said to be the “adult harry potter”. I mean a lot of people say a lot of books are like harry potter and I have always been disappointed. So, my expectations weren’t very high.

Well, I ended up really loving this book, that description was very accurate. I was surprised by how many years were in this book and how unlikable some of the characters ended up being, but I really enjoyed the ride. I also loved the nods to Terry Pratchett and Narnia. This really was a magical book and I am excited that I have the boxset waiting for me and that I am buddy reading the rest of the series.

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Blood of Elves (The Witcher, #1)Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am so glad I bought book 2 of this series. I will be honest the netflix adaptation didn’t really pull me in, but I really liked the idea so I gave the book series a shot. Well, I loved it so much more. The flow was a lot bette and I was able to track things.

Also, the writing is just wonderful and so imaginative. I feel like if I keep writing this review I will just keep blabbing on about how much I loved it.

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HamletHamlet by William Shakespeare

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Overall, I don’t regret reading this play. Did I love it? No. Was it my favorite? No. Did I absolutely hate it? No again. I did enjoy the creepiness and the exploration  such deep feelings, even if they were exaggerated for the sake of the play. This was very average in my book. Full Review: 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | March

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Middle Mark Books 2

Queen’s Gambit by Bradley Harper, my rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Knife in the Fog by Bradley Harper, my rating: 4 of 5 stars

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, my rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hamlet by William Shakespeare, my rating: 3 of 5 stars

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky, my rating: 2 of 5 stars

Gwendy’s Magic Feather by Richard Chizmar, my rating: 4 of 5 stars


Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 22


Reading Stats

  • Number of Books: 12
  • Number of Pages: 4,296
  • Fiction: 12
  • Nonfiction: 0
  • DNF’ed: 0
  • Ebook: 0
  • Audiobook: 0
  • Paperback: 7
  • Hardcover: 6
  • Library: 1
  • Owned: 11
  • 5 Stars: 1
  • 4 Stars: 6
  • 3 Stars: 2
  • 2 Stars: 3
  • 1 Star: 0

What was your favorite read of the month?

What was the last book you read in March?

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