Wrap Up

Wrap Up | May 2019

Monthly Wrap Up

This month has been a really interesting reading month for me. I feel like my reading was all over the place, but at the same time not. I have read a lot of non-fiction or very large books the past few weeks, with only a sprinkling of thrillers from a buddy read and a novel from one of my 2019 reading challenges.

I am not quite sure why I tended to read a lot about Russian history or Russian influenced books, but I think I was really craving non-fiction and historical fiction. As to the big books, I think I have been in a mood to just pick up a book and just dedicate myself to reading it and really absorbing it, not just reading something and flying through it. Either way, I am really happy with the books I have read this month, without more of my ramblings and reflection, here are the books I read!

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Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana AlliluyevaStalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva by Rosemary Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a wonderfully written non-fiction account of the daughter of one of the worlds most notorious men. It was really enlightening to read about her relationship with her father for a few reasons. The first being it really gave insight into Soviet Russian elite, which to me seemed to not be so different with how the elite lived under the tsars, and how Stalin was as a husband and a father.

I also liked how this novel tracked her life following the death of her father and beyond. I think it was a very good nod to her because it seemed like she tried hard to be seen as her own person and this novel really does just that.

As I said earlier, this is well written. The style of writing is story like with a great deal of information, I think this is great for those who want to read more non-fiction but are intimidated by books being to “academic”. In addition to this, the organization and execution of this biography is wonderful. The flow was very natural and I never felt like I was jumping around in her story, even though we cover an entire lifetime in a single book.

This book also inspired me to look into Svetlana’s own books about her story and also read more from this author.

View all my reviews


BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed hearing her story in her own words. If you have any interest, I highly recommend.

View all my reviews


Behind Her EyesBehind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a very thought out thriller and I can really appreciate that. I just wish one aspect of the story was more explored throughout the novel. While this was a well planned thriller, it is by no means bad, but it also isn’t one of my top ones.

The story will keep you on your toes and just like the dust jacket says, if you think you can guess the ending. I think your guess most likely will be wrong.

View all my reviews


The StandThe Stand by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am still surprised I was able to finish this book in a single month, but I am so happy that I read it. While it was long, I was not once bored and I never wanted to skip a particular part.

Overall, I really liked the wide array of characters in this novel. I was expecting to get them all confused and turned around, but they are so distinct and their motives for their actions are always true to them so I did not have a problem keeping them all straight. There were characters in here that I cried for and I cheered for. There were those I did not care for in the slightest. It really is interesting to see all the different ways humans deal with something like this.

I really enjoy this type of story from king, it is a mixture of ghosts, monsters, but also human nature and what it could be. Making is just enough real to make you uneasy. Also, whenever anyone sneezed I got anxious. I had to laugh at myself a bit, but according to the Stephen King subreddit, I am not the only one who this happened to.

View all my reviews

Middle Mark Books 2

If you want to read my review of the following books, please see my post; Middle Mark | May 2019.

Ask Baba Yaga by Taisia Kitaiskaia, Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia, Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Beat the Backlist 2

Current TBR: 38

Current Backlist TBR: 9Divider 2

What was your favorite book you read this month?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | May 2019

Middle Mark

So, this month I am reading big books, but also reading some smaller books in-between to keep up my momentum. I always need to pause a big book and finish a quick read or I end up getting bogged down, am I the only one who feels this way from time to time?

Anyway, this Middle Mark is mainly going to be a few of the small books, hopfully my monthly wrap up will have some of the larger books. Fingers crossed.

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Ask Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday TroublesAsk Baba Yaga: Otherworldly Advice for Everyday Troubles by Taisia Kitaiskaia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very adorable and helpful book. This advice centered book is a mixture of fun, thoughtfulness, and folklore. I plan on reading more from this author because the writing was lyrical, but not annoying. The advice was useful, but not full of itself.

I see myself picking it up again from time to time.

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Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women WritersLiterary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers by Taisia Kitaiskaia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very cute and quick read. I really enjoyed how each section was set up. A little story create by the author, a little non-fiction blurb about the “literary witch” and then recommenced reading for each one. This truly is a wonderful celebration of women writers from a wide array of backgrounds and time.

This little blurb and short little story really gets you in the mood to explore these women and it is so wonderful that she gives you 3 or more recommendations. On top of that the illustrator, Katy Horon, has a wonderful style and you can see how individualized and meaningful each of the pieces are.

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Currently Reading 2

Stalin’s Daughter by Rosemary Sullivan

Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva

I picked up this novel while at my local indie bookstore. I am ashamed to say and admit I never knew Stalin has a daughter. I honestly just through he was so evil that I cannot fathom that he could be a father. I am currently about 74 pages into the book and I think is he is a horrible husband, horrible person, and I think he was a messed up dad already. Mainly because of foreshadowing and some comments here and there, but I am interested in seeing just how low he goes in his personal life.


The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

I have finally started this huge book, I am not too far into it, but I can already see why it is a beloved book of his. It has a very interesting start and I normally don’t like apocalyptic  dystopian writings, mainly because YA was/is just pushed them way to much for me, but I will say that this one seems very different and I am curious to see how he pictures a world after our world collapses.

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What are you currently reading?

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TBR

May TBR | 2019

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Hello and welcome to a new month! May is my favorite month of the year. The first being that the trees and flowers are finally fully alive, but pollen is no longer kicking my butt. The second is that it is my birthday month! I have always loved my birthday, it is a great excuse to have a fun experience with my friends and family. I love organizing fun things for us all to do, one year I planned a tour, another I planned a wonderful dinner. I just love spending time with those who are important to me. What is one thing you love doing on or for your birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday memory?

Anyway, with this month being my birthday month I am not quite sure how much reading I am going to actually be doing, but I know I want to get to a few reads for sure. Without more rambling, her is my TBR!


-The Books-

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

This is the book that has been on my phsyical TBR for the longest. I meant to read it a few months ago, but life became a bit crazy and I did not have the time to dedicate a great deal of time to this novel. It is 1327 pages, so this might take me some time. I am excited to read it though. I am also really interested to see how Stephen King handles a post apocalyptic world that dealt with an illness. I have read a few King books that had an apocalyptic theme and I am curious how different they are.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

This is the next book I plan on reading for my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist. I am very interested in reading this novel. This fiction novel deals with the idea of women in prison and the hardships they face, both a physical and mental. I am very curious to find out what placed the main character in prison when she has a young child, said in description. I am also curious to see how this subject is handled. I am unsure of how graphic this read will be, but I am very much intrigued.


-TBR Jar Pick-

This month I want to bring back using my TBR Jar to pick at least one read a month like I have in the past. The past few months I have fallen away from it, but I miss the mini challenge of sorts.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

I added this book to my TBR in September of last year. It was my Book of the Month pick, I was really interested in this fictional novel that follows women on the sidelines of wars. It goes into detail of these important and often forgotten individuals who have to give up much, fight in their own way, and often be belittled and pushed to the side. I love history and I can tell you that one of my favorite quote is ” For most of history Anonymous was a woman”. I wish I knew who said it, but it is very true and I am excited to read this novel that give those anonymous women a voice and a story, even if it is historical fiction.


What are you reading this month?

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of my choices?

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TBR

February TBR | 2019

ToBeRead12:17

Hello and welcome to my February TBR, my first one of 2019. Last month I didn’t feel like making a TBR because I wanted to focus on reading some classics and finishing the books I started. Since I am finished with those I thought it was time to make one. I am going to make this post short and sweet so without more of a delay, here is my TBR!

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Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the Date

This book I am kinda ashamed to still have on my TBR. I picked it up when I met Morgan Matson at BookCon 2018. She was so nice and lovely, we had a great laugh about my corgi lanyard. I have read and loved previous books by her, but for some reason I have not picked this up. I think it is because I have not been in the mood for a contemporary. I think I am finally in the mood for it though. I want something light after all the intense reads of last month.

World Without End by Ken Follett

World Without End (Kingsbridge, #2)

This is the next book in the Kingsbridge series, which I started last year due to the Haul | Bookseller Picks My Books post I did. I ended up loving the first book, a very large historical fiction. I ended up going out right away and getting the second book, but I did not feel like reading such a large book right away. So, I decided now is finally the time since the 3rd book has finally came out in paperback and I can get that if I end up liking this one just as much.

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The Stand by Stephen King

So it seems that I will be reading quite a few large books this upcoming months and I am not sure how well that is going to go, but I am going to do my best to at least finish this TBR jar pick. I have been wanting to read this for sometime, but since it is so large I have been putting it off because I felt like I did not have the time to dedicate to it. While I do have the paperback edition, the cover you can see below, I think I might get the ebook edition so I can carry it around with me without having the weight of it.

The Stand

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What are you reading this month?

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TBR

September TBR | 2018

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Hello September! I don’t know about you, but September marks my favorite time of the year. I can start wearing sweatshirts and I have more of an excuse to stay inside and read instead of going outside to be social. It also is the time of year I feel more relaxed and comfortable. Not sure why, but this is just my time of the year and I always get excited about it.

Anyway, this month I am going to focus on reading a few of the biggest books that remain on my TBR. I was going to read these in August, but the NEWTs readathon was announced and that plan went out the window so fast. So without more of my ramblings here are the books I am determined to read in September.

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

This books I read the first chapter of a few months ago when I did a try a chapter tag. I LOVED the beginning and wanted to read it, but I didn’t have a ton of time to dedicate to it so I kept putting it off. Here is the post if you want my initial reaction: Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter April 2018.  Also, another bonus is I am reading this with my friend Amy.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.

At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit. –goodreads.com

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Under the Dome by Stephen King

Under the Dome

This is one of the last over 1000 page Stephen King books I own and need to read. I have been reading my smaller ones the last few months as well as his short story collections because I have been doing a bunch of readathons and such so I am excited to finally read one of his larger novels again. I also want to watch this show badly so I need to hurry up and read this already.

Just down Route 119 in Chester’s Mill, Maine, all hell is about to break loose…

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day, a small town is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and rain down flaming wreckage. A gardener’s hand is severed as the dome descends. Cars explode on impact. Families are separated and panic mounts. No one can fathom what the barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if— it will go away. Now a few intrepid citizens, led by an Iraq vet turned short-order cook, face down a ruthless politician dead set on seizing the reins of power under the dome. but their main adversary is the dome itself. Because time isn’t just running short, it’s running out. –goodreads.com

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

So, this one I am very iffy about. I tried to read this a year or so ago and ended up unhauling it. When I recently went through my owned audiobooks in my post Lists | Un-listened to Audiobooks I realized I had this still in my possession so I should give it another go. I am hoping that I end up liking it as much as I enjoyed the trilogy.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. goodreads.com

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The Stand

This has been on my radar for a longtime and I finally got a copy of it a month or two ago I think. Maybe even three? I am not 100% sure, but I have been putting this off due to the size so I figured, now was a great time!

First came the days of the plague…
After the days of the plague came the dreams.

Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil.

His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms…

When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity within a few weeks. The survivors who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge–Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. –goodreads.com

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The Tommyknockers

Like all of the other Stephen King books on this list, I have had them for some time and I really just want to read them and I am sick of putting them off. I think that really sold me I was watching a show about mining and the one man was talking about tommyknockers and how they are known to warn miners about a cave in. I am not saying that this is the same spirit of being, It just sparked me wanting to read to see if there was any connection between the two.

On a beautiful June day, while walking deep in the woods on her property in Haven, Maine, Bobbi Anderson quite literally stumbles over her own destiny and that of the entire town. For the dull gray metal protrusion she discovers in the ground is part of a mysterious and massive metal object, one that may have been buried there for millennia. Bobbi can’t help but become obsessed and try to dig it out…the consequences of which will affect and transmute every citizen of Haven, young and old. It means unleashing extraordinary powers beyond those of mere mortals—and certain death for any and all outsiders. An alien hell has now invaded this small New England town…an aggressive and violent malignancy devoid of any mercy or sanity… –goodreads.com

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Hangsaman

So if you are new here, this year I have found a new favorite author, Shirley Jackson. This month I am buddy reading this novel by her with my friends Amy, Jenna, and Reg. I am really looking forward to it, especially since it was inspired by a real event.

Natalie Waite, daughter of a mediocre writer and a neurotic housewife, is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. In the midst of adolescence she senses a creeping darkness in her life, which will spread among nightmarish parties, poisonous college cliques and the manipulations of the intellectual men who surround her, as her identity gradually crumbles.

Inspired by the unsolved disappearance of a female college student near Shirley Jackson’s home, Hangsaman is a story of lurking disquiet and haunting disorientation. –goodreads.com

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Lists & Recommendations

Lists| Highest Rated Books on My TBR

Lists

So, this weeks posts are going to be pretty basic and written very far in advance. As it turns out as you are reading this I am preparing to go away or I am already away on vacation. I am lucky enough to be able to go on vacation for the first time in YEARS, but I did not want to leave you guys without content so this week I am going to talk about my TBR and the books on it.

Today’s post is going to be listing the 5 top rated books that I have on my owned TBR. I am excited to see which ones are rated the highest.

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)

Rating: 4.7

This is a second book in a series, so I am not going to post the description here because I rather not spoil anything. I have read this in part already, but I need to finish it up ASAP before I forget everything that has happened.

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The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

Rating: 4.47

I read the first chapter of this a while ago in a try a chapter post, Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter April 2018 and I loved the first chapter so I can see why it rated so highly.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1)

Rating: 4.37

I keep hearing awesome things about this novel and when I saw that audible was having a sale I picked this up for what felt like a steal. I am very happy to see that it is rated so highly and I hope to get to it in the near future. I think we should start a count on how many times I say, “I hope to get to this soon” or phrases along those lines.

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck

East of Eden

Rating: 4.36

I read this many, many years ago and I remember liking it. Sadly, I do not remember anything that happened because it was so long ago and it was for study instead of for enjoyment. I have realized a lot of books I have read in a school setting I don’t remember as long as when I read things for pleasure. Divider

The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

Rating: 4.34

This monster of a novel, I mean it is a Stephen King novel what else should I expect? I bought this many a few months ago and I am reading his books in order I acquire them. Since I have quite a few I need to get to I will not read this until most likely next year. I am excited to see that it is rated so highly.

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Hauls

Book Haul |May 2018

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So this month is most likely going to be the last big haul for some time. If you don’t follow me else where or missed a previous post where I mentioned that I am currently participating in the Read 5 to Buy 1 challenge. I decided following my birthday it was time to slow down my buying of books and focus on reading what I already have.

While I limited my own buying of books this month, I did have a birthday so I ended up getting a ton of books from my friends and families. Without more of a delay here is a short video of the books I received and bought this month.

Also, I know these videos have been shaky so I have ordered a little phone stand to fix this, it has been bothering me and thanks to Charlotte, I have an idea of starting to do something new that it can be used for as well.

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The Books

Replica by Lauren Oliver

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

After the Fireworks: Three Novellas by Aldous Huxley

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Night Shift by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

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What book(s) did you add to your TBR recently?

Have you read any of these?

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