March 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

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Not only are Coloradoans under a stay-at-home order, but we’ve also had a few snow storms and cooler days that have made it next to impossible to get outside. Because of that, I’ve had a lot of reading time and I am really trying to get through some of my backlist books to clear off my unread shelves!

March By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 16
  • Audiobooks: 3
  • Five Star Reads: 3
  • Unread Shelf:  10(2 DNFs)
  • Books Aquired: 31
  • By Women Authors: 13 (1 DNFs)
  • By Authors of Color: 3
  • By Queer Authors: 2
  • Nonfiction Reads: 7 (0 DNF)
  • Debuts: 6
  • Published in 2020: 6 (0 DNF)

Favorite Books of March: 

SO HARD!

My favorite book of the month was The Two Lives of Lydia Bird.

But here’s is also a list of the ones I think I’ll remember for awhile: From Scratch, Severance, Running With Sherman, You Are Not Alone, Anna K, The Witches Are Coming, and Untamed.

Here is a look at the TBR I set:

  • A Backlist Title – 📖 Lab Girl by: Hope Jahren
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I was so surprised by this one. I was worried about the science being over my head and too science-y, but Jahren has a talent for writing. I was engrossed throughout the book and so inspired by the end!
  • A BOTM Title – 📖 Severance by: Ling Ma
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ What a crazy time to just happen to pick this one up! It paralleled real life in an uncanny way (similar pandemic storylines), but I also think this added to my overall enjoyment of the story. It definetly helped it become a memorable read!
  • A Nonfiction Title – 📖 Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis by: J.D. Vance
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Maybe if I had read this one closer to its release date, I would have rated this one higher. But the hype has simmered down, and I was also let down. As a memoir, I liked this well enough, but as a social commentary on “hillbilly-ness” it was quite disappointing.
  • At least 2 physical ARCs
    • 📖 *** A Good Neighborhood by: Therese Anne Fowler
      • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Sadly, I just didn’t love this one. I did enjoy the bones of the story, but there were two aspects of the book (no spoilers) that totally overshadowed everything else and ruined the book for me. It had so much potential but didn’t deliver.
    • 📖 *** Anna K by: Jenny Lee
      • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 When I saw comparisons to Gossip Girl, I was all in! I loved that show of elite teenagers seemingly running wild on the streets of New York, and this book had many of the same vibes. Drugs, sex, parties, privilege, and money galore, Lee takes the classic, Anna Karenina, and gives it a fun, modern YA twist among the NYC high school social scene.

I also read the following books:

  • 🎧 *** Running With Sherman: The Donkey With the Heart of a Hero by: Christopher McDougall
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ An absolute delight, especially on audiobook! McDougall writes nonficiton that is immersive and encompasses so much more than the title of the book. I will read everything McDougall writes!
  • 📱 *** You Are Not Alone by: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Unlike any other psychological thriller I’ve ever read, I couldn’t turn these pages fast enough. It was twisty and creepy and perfect.
  • 🎧 *** Make It Scream, Make It Burn by: Leslie Jamison
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one, but the essays quickly pulled me in. Jamison narrates this herself and listening to her read her own deep thoughts really made the essays stand out that much more for me.
  • 📱 *** Under the Rainbow by: Celia Laskey
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ When a small town in Kansas is named the most homophobic town in the country, a small nonprofit moves in to educate the small minds of this town. It is insightful and I loved the way each chapter was a new perspective of one of the townspeople.
  • 🎧 *** The Witches Are Coming by: Lindy West
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ LOVED this…and the audiobook was amazing! Read it ASAP!
  • 📖 The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by: Josie Silver
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ While this one struck me as a romance at first sight, there is so much more. When Lydia’s fiancé dies, she begins to live in parallel universes – one where Freddie is dead and another where he is alive. The nuances presented surrounding grief and love and loss really struck a chord with me.
  • 📖 Untamed by: Glennon Doyle
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Is Glennon Doyle capable of writing something bad?! I don’t think so, and Untamed is no exception. It’s amazing and reminds me that Doyle has a way of transforming pain into healing. She gives women permission to be themselves – to live in their one life fully and unapologetically. This book is like balm to the soul.
  • 📖 Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by: Leigh Bardugo
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 While the world building was great, it also made the story drag. To commit 175-200 pages of a 450 page story is quite the commitment for the payoff that you get at the end. I did love Alex, the conspiracy theories surrounding Yale University, and the overall story, but it was just too long and dense to receive high praise from me.
  • 📖 *** The Long Flight Home by: Alan Hlad
    • ⭐️⭐️💫 During WWII, the British Royal Forces used pigeons to help figure out Hitler’s moves. I had never heard of this and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. It was incredibly interesting. However, that was the only facsinating thing about the book. Unfortunately, the writing felt amateurish and it really didn’t hold my attention.
  • 📖 The Simple Wild (Wild, #1) by: K.A. Tucker
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It took a loooong time to get into this one and I was so close to DNFing it. The story did eventually pick up and I ended up enjoying it, though I’m not sure I care enough to continue the series (if you’ve read both, is the second better than the first?). I did love the romance between Jonah and Calla and I absolutely loved the Alaskan setting. Overall, it was a great, easy read considering what’s going on IRL right now.

I tried, but wasn’t feeling:

  • 📱 *** America Was Hard to Find by: Kathleen Alcott
    • It’s probably my state of mind, but I read the first few chapters and had no idea what I had read. I gave up pretty quickly.
  • 📖 Scythe (Arc of a Scythe, #1) by: Neal Schusterman
    • DNF – I know many people LOVE this series, and it has a super high rating on Goodreads, but I just couldn’t get into it. Could it be because a global pandemic is happening right now IRL? Possibly. Probably. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t working for me.
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

Unread Shelf Update:

I’m still working on only accepting books I truly want to read. I also went through my shelves again and culled out books that I was convincing myself I wanted to read. I took 80 books to my library (I’m sure they were happy!) I felt like the biggest weight was lifted off my chest…so win/win!

I acquired 33 books in February (no purchases for me!! 🙌🏼)

I donated/unloaded 86 books!

My new total of books on my bookshelves is 389 books on my shelves!

(I started with 417, so I’ve gotten rid of 28 books so far. I wish it were more, but at least I’m heading in the right direction!)

This challenge is still proving to be so valuable to me and I’m excited to continue! Head over to Whitney’s blog for more information if you’d like to participate!

February 2020 Reading Wrap-Up

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This month felt so much more managable, especially in regards to my Unread Shelf project (see below for the specifics).

I was also grateful for the extra day (I’m looking at you, Leap Day!) because it allowed me to slide in one more book for the month!

February By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 13
  • Audiobooks: 1
  • Five Star Reads: 4
  • Unread Shelf: 8 (4 DNFs)
  • Books Aquired: 26
  • By Women Authors: 11 (2 DNFs)
  • By Authors of Color: 3
  • By Queer Authors: 0
  • Nonfiction Reads: 4 (1 DNF)
  • Debuts: 4
  • Published in 2020: 6 (2 DNF)

Favorite Books of February: The Girl With the Louding Voice, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, Lovely War, The Holdout, In Five Years

Here is a look at the TBR I set:

  • A BOTM Title – 📖 *** The Girl With the Louding Voice by: Abi Daré
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I was so invested in the characters and I had to know how everything would wrap up. While the syntax took a minute to grip, it added so much to the story and made it feel so much more authentic.
  • A Nonfiction Title – 📖 *** The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by: Jeff Goodell
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A well-written book about the looming consequences of the global warming crisis. Already a few years past its publication date, this book NEEDS to be read by everyone…because we will ALL be affected soon. We owe our children and grandchildren a better future than what they currently stand to inherit. Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed by all of us, but mostly by the naysayers.
  • A NetGalley/Edelweiss Title  – 📱 *** The Mountains Sing by: Nguyen Phan Que Mai
    • DNF @ 18% – The writing is clunky and the sentences too simplistic for my liking. Some of the metaphors feel forced. Just not cohesive enough to gain my attention.
  • A Memoir – 📖 There Will Be No Miracles Here by: Casey Gerald
    • DNF – I read the first couple of chapters and decided it is too densely written for where I’m at right now in my reading life. The premise sounds amazing, so I may return to it in the future; but for now, I’m putting it down.
  • At least 2 physical ARCs
    • 📖 *** Lovely War by: Julie Berry
      • With one of the most unique storylines I’ve ever read, I devoured this WWI historical fiction about tragedy, survival, and love, Greek gods and goddesses attempt to answer the age-old question: why are Love and War eternally drawn to each other?
    • 📖 *** Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by: Layla F. Saad
      • On the cover, Elizabeth Gilbert (NYT bestselling author) says, “Buy this book for yourself, your family, your students. Don’t put it off and don’t look away. It’s time.” and I couldn’t agree more! This revealed to me a lot of blind spots in myself that I wasn’t even aware of. I have a lot of work to do and I’m thankful for books like this to open my eyes!

I also read the following books:

  • 📖 The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by: Anissa Gray
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is a story about a family – three daughters and one brother – and what happens with the oldest (and stand-in mother figure to the other siblings), Althea, is sentenced to prison after her husband and her are convicted of a crime. Althea’s daughters, Baby Vi and Kim, are left swirling in the aftermath of their parents’ crime, and the siblings come together to help take care of them as best as they can. Through the transitionary process, deep secrets begin to emerge and old hurts are brought to life.
  • 📖 Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle by: Emily and Amelia Nagoski
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Overall, I liked this book (A LOT in the beginning, but slowly lost interest by the end). It has some great insight, but as a person who has already negotiated a lot of the advice given within the pages, it was redunant information for me personally. If you’re new to discovering why you feel like crap all the time, this book will be extremely helpful for you! Please head to Instagram on Saturday to participate in the book discussion!
  • 📖 Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts by: Kate Racculia
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ For a book that started off well, it slowly lost its momentum and eventually kind of fizzled out for me. I really loved Tuesday Mooney – she’s quirky and nerdy in all the best ways – there were a lot of characters to keep straight and the story jumped around quite a bit. It wasn’t that it was hard to keep track of – it just interrupted the flow. I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong for me, but I couldn’t care less how it wrapped up at the end.
  • 🎧 *** Open Book by: Jessica Simpson
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Even though I totally think Simpson had a ghostwriter, I was still engaged with her story. She’s raw, honest, and vulnerable as she tells of her rise to fame. I was surprised with how relatable I found her to be and really appreciated how she opened up about her journey.
  • 📱 *** Darling Rose Gold by: Stephanie Wrobel
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It’s best to go in blind on this one, but suffice it to say that the creep factor is high and this is an entertaining and dark psychological thriller (even if it was a little predictable).
  • 📱 *** Big Lies in a Small Town by: Diane Chamberlain
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 This is the first Chamberlain I’ve read, and considering the high praise I always hear about her books, I was a little let down by this story. It felt a little too long; therefore, I feel like I lost interest and just wanted the story to be over. I can’t quite put my finger on what went wrong, but it definitely won’t be a memorable read for me.
  • 📖 *** The Holdout by: Graham Moore
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I loved this inside look into the American justice system – specifically the jury aspect of it. This book provides an interesting view of the flaws of the system and the expectations serving on a jury can have on an individual’s personal life and of those around them.
  • 📱 *** In Five Years by: Rebecca Serle
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This is the second book I’ve read by Serle and I can confidently say I’m a fan! Her writing pulls me in and I get fully engaged in her stories. I previously read The Dinner List and really enjoyed it, but I loved this one even more. Again, not to be evasive, but it’s best to head into the story blind, but overall it’s a beautiful story about friendship and loyalty and the nuances of those bonds.

I tried, but wasn’t feeling:

  • 📖 Little Women by: Louisa May Alcott
    • I wanted to care so, so much…but I just didn’t. It sat on my table for most of January, begging me to read it, but the little that I did was just so incredibly boring for me. I think this is exactly why I don’t read classics!
  • 📱 *** The Mountains Sing by: Nguyen Phan Que Mai
    • The writing is clunky and the sentences too simplistic for my writing. Some of the metaphors feel forced. Just not cohesive enough to gain my attention.
  • 📱 *** When We Were Vikings by: Andrew David MacDonald
    • I seem to be in the minority, but I can’t get over the use of the r-word, the f-word, or what seems to be the sexual conquest of Zelda, a character with fetal alcohol syndrome. 
  • 📖 There Will Be No Miracles Here by: Casey Gerald
    • While the premise sounds interesting, it just feels like the wrong timing for me. After several chapters, it was too dense for me to fully engage with and to keep me turning the pages.
  • 📖 *** Wyoming by: J.P. Gritton
    • I could have probably made it through this one at another point in my life, but I just didn’t have the desire to commit anymore energy to this one. I like dark and gritty books, but this one failed to grab me and hold my attention.
(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

Unread Shelf Update:

Last month was a bit of a wake up call for me. (I aquired 52 books in one month! 52!) No one can realistically keep up with the books on their shelves at the rate I was putting them on my shelves, so I’m committing to being more selective of the books I accept. While I still have some work to do, I was pleased with the fact that I cut that number in half.

I acquired 26 books in February (no purchases for me!! 🙌🏼)

I donated/unloaded 28 books (again, I’m feeling proud of myself)

I actually moved in the right direction this month by getting rid of 2 books from my shelves for a new total of 442 books on my shelves!

(I started with 417, so I’m still in the wrong direction, but after January, I feel good about this result. It’s getting easier for me to remove books from my shelves that I know I’m just not interested in reading anymore. I’m going to continue to cull books that just aren’t speaking to me and I hope this number continues to go down!)

This challenge is still proving to be so valuable to me and I’m excited to continue! Head over to Whitney’s blog for more information if you’d like to participate!

January 2020 Reading Wrap-up

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At the beginning of January, I set some lofty goals to try to get through some of the #unreadbooks already on my shelves. I FAILED MASSIVELY…but more on that later!

January By the Numbers:

  • Total Books Read: 11
  • Audiobooks: 0
  • Five Star Reads: 2
  • Unread Shelf: 8 (2 DNFs)
  • Books Aquired: 52
  • By Women Authors: 10 (3 DNFs)
  • By Authors of Color: 1
  • By Queer Authors: 1
  • Nonfiction Reads: 2 (1 DNF)
  • Debuts: 7
  • Published in 2020: 7 (1 DNF)

Favorite Books of January: Me, A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and The Sun Down Motel

Here is a look at the TBR I set:

  • A Nonfiction Title – 📖 The Library Book by: Susan Orlean
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 For most of the book I was fascinated by the history, not only of the Los Angeles Public Library, but libraries in general. It got a little long, but I think librarians and book readers that have a special spot for Los Angeles would really enjoy this one!
  • A NetGalley/Edelweiss Title  – 📱 Such A Fun Age by: Kiley Reid
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I know I’m in the #unpopularopinion category with this one, but I feel like Reid was trying to accomplish too much. There were a lot of aspects explored throughout the book, but none of them executed well (in my opinion).
  • A Memoir – 📖 Me by: Elton John
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thank goodness for Elton John or this entire month may have been a bust! I loved this honest and raw look into Elton John’s life…and it just reaffirmed my love for him!

I also read the following books:

  • 📖 *** Saint X by: Alexis Schaitkin
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ This one started off strong but lost its steam about halfway through. It could have been so good!
  • 📖 *** Followers by: Megan Angelo
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️ I’m sorry to say that I completely missed the whole point of this book (The Spill) and had to have a reader DM me to explain. I KNOW it wasn’t the fault of the book as much as it was my own headspace (I read it during an emotional week). I would absolutely seek out others’ reviews before making a decision on this one…what I read was engaging, I just couldn’t concentrate enough to grab the jist.
  • 📖 *** The Wolf Wants In by: Laura McHugh
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A deeply nuanced, dark, and gritty literary mystery that explores themes of poverty, drugs, and grief. It’s not a long book – under 300 pages – but it certainly left an impression on me!
  • 📖 A Curse So Dark and Lonely (Cursebreakers, #1) by: Brigid Kemmerer
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 I really enjoyed this fantasy/fairytale world and it may have just pulled me out of the month long reading slump I’ve been in!
  • 📖 *** The Sun Down Motel by: Simone St. James
    • ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I LOVED this book! The perfect amount of mystery and spookiness and pacing. I read this book in less than 24 hours because I couldn’t put it down! St. James is now on my autobuy author list, as I also loved her first book, The Broken Girls!

I tried, but wasn’t feeling:

  • 📖 The Garden of Small Beginnings by: Abbi Waxman
    • I believe Abby Waxman’s writing style just isn’t for me. It is just too sweet and tidy…maybe it’s the place I’m at in my reading life, but this one just wasn’t holding my attention.

Unread Shelf Update:

After just one month of participation in the #unreadshelf project, I now understand why I have a plethora of books! (Also, here is where I failed for the first month…but with awareness comes the ability to figure out solutions!)

I acquired 52 books this month! Yes, you read that right…52! Tracking these numbers cleared up why I feel overwhelmed in my reading life – there’s just no way I can ever read enough to get caught up! It also reinforces the fact that I need to be more conscious of the books I bring into my home. No matter what I say, massive amounts of books on my shelves overwhelms me, makes me feel like I need to read (hello, this is a hobby, not a job!), and stresses me out.

Today, I’m going to recount the books on my shelves. (Unfortunately, I took several boxes of books to my local library to donate and forget to count them! I definitely need a better system moving forward to more accurately track the books coming in and out of my house!) I also can’t remember if I counted books on my kindle – both ARCs and purchased books – so I need to be sure I have those included.

For now,

I acquired 52 books in January (I only purchased 7 of these! 😳)

I donated/unloaded 25 books

I gained 27 books for a new total of 444 books on my shelves!

(I started with 417, so I’m clearly headed in the wrong direction! 🤦🏼‍♀️)

There are so many things I need to do differently, but I’m grateful to this challenge and the month of January for showing me where I need to make some progress!

December 2019 Wrap-Up

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As one would expect, I didn’t get a lot of reading done this month. Between my son’s basketball season wrapping up to Christmas celebrations and family visiting, I was too busy or too tired to really get to any reading. I am so excited for some down time to pick up some books again – I’ve missed reading so much!

Also, in case you missed it, here are some of my favorite posts from December:

Here’s my December Wrap-up by the numbers:

  • 8 books total (3 DNFs)
  • Average Rating: 3.4 (by far my worst reading month in terms of enjoyment and memorable reads)
  • 5 physical books, 3 e-books, 0 audiobook
  • 6 fiction, 2 non-fiction
  • Genre: 2 contemporary fiction, 1 literary fiction, 0 historical fiction, 1 science fiction, 1 memoir, 1 non-fiction, 0 thriller, 2 young adult
  • Rating: 0 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫, 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️, 1 ⭐️⭐️
  • Author: 6 female, 2 male, 0 they/them

So far this year, I’ve read 167 books and my average rating for the year finishes 3.9.

In terms of enjoyment, it was my worst reading month of the year. Nothing really stands out to me as an unforgettable read, but I would probably choose The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali as my favorite book of the month. The Song of Achilles was also a consideration.

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Here’s the complete breakdown. (Click on the link to be taken to my original review).

If You Enjoy an Atmospheric Read:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫  📖  The Starless Sea by: Erin Morgenstern

The One That That You Think is Nonfiction But Turns Out to Be YA (Or For a Look Into the Opioid Epidemic Through the Eyes of a Teen):

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 Opioid, Indiana by: Brian Allen Carr

For the One That Will Blow Your Mind:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Recursion by: Blake Crouch

If You’ve Ever Thought About Starting a Podcast (Or Have Been Curious About the Process):

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 So You Want To Start a Podcast by: Kristen Meizner

For a YA Fiction Book About a School Shooting:

⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by: Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

If You’re Looking For a Memoir About a Beautiful Father/Daughter Relationship and Grief:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** All That You Leave Behind by: Erin Lee Carr

If You Need an Easy Historical Fiction Romance:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Stationery Shop by: Marjan Kamali

If You Love a Greek Retelling (and Loved Circe):

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Song of Achilles by: Madeline Miller

DNF (aka: Not For Me and/or Skipping For Now):

📖 *** Africaville by: Jeffrey Colvin

📱*** Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America by: Nefertiti Austin

🎧 *** Ordinary Girls by: Jaquira Díaz

 

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

November 2019 Wrap-Up

Here’s my November Wrap-up by the numbers:

  • 13 books total (5 DNFs – don’t @ me!)
  • Average Rating: 3.9
  • 8 physical books, 4 e-books, 1 audiobook
  • 7 fiction, 6 non-fiction
  • Genre: 3 contemporary fiction, 1 literary fiction, 0 historical fiction, 5 memoir, 1 non-fiction, 1 thriller, 2 young adult
  • Rating: 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫, 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Author: 9 female, 4 male, 0 they/them

So far this year, I’ve read 159 books and my average rating is a 3.9 (Can I get this number to at least 4.0 by the end of the year?!?).

My favorite book of the month was, hands down, KNOW MY NAME. In the Dream House and Inheritance were close contenders.

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Here’s the complete breakdown. (Click on the link to be taken to my original review).

The One That Will Make You Think the Most:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Know My Name by: Chanel Miller (Viking) – Pub Date: September 24, 2019

The Memoir That Will Blow Your Mind:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Inheritance: A Memoir About Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by: Dani Shapiro (Knopf) – Pub Date: January 15, 2019

The One That Tackles Complicated Issues/Relationships:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 *** Long Bright River by: Liz Moore (Riverhead) – Pub Date: January 7, 2020

The One That Gives You the Most Accurate Depiction of Abuse:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 In the Dream House by: Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press) – Pub Date: November 5, 2019

The One That Will Make Your Heart Hurt, and Then Turn Hopeful:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 🎧 *** How We Fight For Our Lives by: Saeed Jones (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: October 8, 2019

The One That Will Blow Your Mind With the Coolest Facts:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 *** The Body: A Guide for Occupants by: Bill Bryson (Doubleday) – Pub Date: October 15, 2019

The One That’s a Collection of Stories:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 Sabrina & Corina: Stories by: Kali Fajardo-Anstine (One World) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019

The One With a Unique Book Premise:

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 Nothing to See Here by: Kevin Wilson (ECCO) – Pub Date: October 29, 2019 (Link on 12/4/19)

The One (Kind of) About Grief:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 The Friend by: Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead) – Pub Date: February 6, 2018

The One That Takes You to a Dystopian World:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📱/🎧 *** The Grace Year by: Kim Liggett (Wednesday Books) – Pub. Date: October 8, 2019

The One That’s Deeper Than It Looks (But Is Still Pretty Cheesy):

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖/🎧 *** Frankly in Love by: David Yoon (Penguin Teen) – Pub Date: September 10, 2019

The One You Want to Throw Against the Wall: 

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by: Adrienne Brodeur (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Pub Date: October 15, 2019

The One You Don’t Have to Feel Bad for Skipping:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 Beyond the Point by: Claire Gibson (William Morrow) – Pub Date: April 1, 2019

Not For Me (AKA: DNF):

🎧 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by: J.K. Rowling (Pottermore) – Pub Date: November 20, 2015

📖 *** Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by: Jia Tolentino (Random House) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

🎧 *** Get a Life, Chloe Brown by: Talia Hibbert (Avon) – Pub Date: November 5, 2019 (Link 12/4/19)

🎧 *** The Deep by: Rivers Soloman (Gallery/Saga Press) – Pub Date: November 5, 2019 (Link 12/4/19)

📱 Save Me The Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by: Ruth Reichl (Random House) – Pub Date: April 2, 2019 (Link 12/4/19)

What was your favorite read in November?

In case you missed it:

Also, don’t forget about my Gift Giving Guide! It’s got a lot of great gift ideas for the bookworm(s) in your life!

 

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

October 2019 Wrap-Up

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Here’s my October Wrap-up by the numbers:

  • 19 books total (2 DNFs)
  • Average Rating: 3.7
  • 16 physical books, 3 e-books, 0 audiobook
  • 16 fiction, 3 non-fiction
  • Genre: 5 contemporary fiction, 2 literary fiction, 2 historical fiction, 1 memoir, 2 non-fiction, 5 thriller, 2 young adult
  • Rating: 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 6 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫, 8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • Author: 11 female, 8 male, 0 they/them

So far this year, I’ve read 146 books and my average rating is a 3.9 (I’d still like to see this number a little higher).

My favorite books of the month were Cantoras, The Dutch House, Evvie Drake Starts Over, and The Dearly BelovedIf forced to choose just one (which would be really hard), I would have to choose Cantoras because I can’t stop thinking about it. It was so good. I have thought a lot about The Dutch House as well, but it hasn’t held on to me the same way as Cantoras.

Here’s the complete breakdown. (Click on the link to be taken to my original review).

Complicated Issues/Relationships:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Cantoras by: Carolina De Robertis (Knopf) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Dutch House by: Ann Patchett (Harper) – Pub Date: September 24, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Dearly Beloved by: Cara Wall (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 After the End by: Clare Mackintosh (Putnam) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

Atmospheric Writing:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Night Circus by: Erin Morgenstern (Doubleday) – Pub Date: September 13, 2011

The Most Unique Book Premise I’ve Ever Read:

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Need by: Helen Phillips (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: July 9, 2019

Books About Grief:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 A Monster Calls by: Patrick Ness (Candlewick Press) – Pub Date: March 12, 2013

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 How To Make Friends with the Dark by: Kathleen Glasgow (Delacorte Press) – Pub Date: April 9, 2019)

A Book About Love:

*** Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss, and Redemption by: Daniel Jones (Broadway Books) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

WWII Historical Fiction (Graphic Novel):

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📱 Irena (Book One): Wartime Ghetto by: Jean-David Morvan (Lion Forge) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

Memoir:

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 *** Toil & Trouble: A Memoir by: Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin’s) – Pub Date: October 1, 2019

Thriller: 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Turn of the Key by: Ruth Ware (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: August 6, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 A Nearly Normal Family by: M.T. Edvardsson (Celadon) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📖 Imaginary Friend by: Stephen Chbosky (Grand Central Publishing) – Pub Date: October 1, 2019

Cute Romance with Some Substance:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Evvie Drake Starts Over by: Linda Holmes (Ballantine) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 American Royals by: Katharine McGee (Random House) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

Don’t Feel Bad for Skipping:

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by: Malcolm Gladwell (Little Brown) – Pub Date: September 10, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Twenty-One Truths About Love by: Matthew Dicks (St. Martin’s) – Pub Date: November 19, 2019

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Speak No Evil by: Liana Gardner (Vesuvian Media) – Pub Date: October 1, 2019

Not For Me (AKA: DNF):

Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions by: Russell Brand (Henry Holt) – Pub Date: October 3, 2017

A House of Ghosts by: W.C. Ryan (Arcade) – Pub Date: October 1, 2019

What was your favorite read in October?

 

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)

September 2019 Wrap-Up

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I definitely had some highs and lows in my reading life in September. Here’s my Wrap-up by the numbers:

  • 13 books total (5 DNFs)
  • Average Rating: 3.7
  • 6 physical books, 7 e-books, 0 audiobook
  • 10 fiction, 3 non-fiction
  • Genre: 1 contemporary fiction, 5 literary fiction, 2 historical fiction, 0 memoir, 3 non-fiction, 2 thriller, 0 young adult
  • Rating: 4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️, 2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫, 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️, 2 ⭐️⭐️
  • Author: 9 female, 4 male, 0 they/them

So far this year, I’ve read 127 books and my average rating is a 3.9 (I’d like to see this number a little higher).

My favorite books of the month were The Most Fun We Ever Had, After the Flood, and The Only Plane in the SkyThese three books were so good, in their own way. They offer something completely different and it was too hard to narrow it down to one.

Here’s the complete breakdown. (Click on the link to be taken to my original review).

Complicated Issues/Relationships:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 The Most Fun We Ever Had by: Claire Lombardo (Doubleday) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

I LOVED this family saga – full of family drama, secrets, and complicated relationships. The character development was phenomenal and I felt like the Sorensons were a real family. This book reads like a Netflix series (think This Is Us and Parenthood). I won’t forget this family for a long time!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** The Goldfinch by: Donna Tartt (Little Brown) – Pub Date: October 22, 2013

This was a reread for me and I liked it even more the second time around. If it wouldn’t have been for a few places where the pace slows way down, it would be a 5-star read for me. The cast of characters really stick with you. This is ultimately a coming-of-age book and I really enjoyed it. (P.S. The book is better!😉)

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📱 Red at the Bone by: Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead) – Pub Date: September 17, 2019

The audiobook version of this one is excellent. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but I’m not sure it’s going to be a story that sticks with me.

WWII Historical Fiction:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️📱 *** The World That We Knew by: Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster) – Pub Date: September 24, 2019

This is the third book that I’ve read by Alice Hoffman. While this one strays a little from the previous two I read (The Rules of Magic and Practical Magic), it still had her signature touch of magic and I absolutely loved it. Hoffman is a magical (pun intended) writer and I have now added her to my Auto-Buy Authors list.

Apocalyptic Fiction:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** After the Flood by: Kassandra Montag (William Morrow) – Pub Date: September 3, 2019

I wasn’t sure how Montag was going to keep my interest for almost 500-pages in a world that was basically flooded, but she did. I was enraptured with the story as well as her writing, and I could not put this one down. I loved the story and the characters so much! This book will be in my Top 10 at the end of the year, I’m sure!

Memoir:

⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📱 Consent: A Memoir of Unwanted Attention by: Donna Freitas (Little Brown) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

The #metoo movement has brought toxic masculinity to the forefront and I suspect stories like this one will become more and more common. Freitas was stalked by a professor at her college – also a priest – and when she finally reported him to the Human Resources department at her college, she was not believed. Instead, the professor was promoted! Nothing about this is surprising to me – we see it over and over again in the media. That’s what makes stories like these so important – in hopes that they help change the narrative around harassment of any kind towards women.

Thriller: 

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 📱 Lock Every Door by: Riley Sager (Dutton) – Pub Date: July 2, 2019

I’m not crazy town about Riley Sager. I read Final Girls and thought it was fine, but I actually did enjoy this one. I’ve become a fan of books set in NYC, and I thought the plot of this one was a little better executed. If you need something quick and light, give this one a try!

Cute Romance with Some Substance:

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Red, White, and Royal Blue by: Casey McQuiston (St. Martin’s Griffin) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

Through Alex and Henry’s love story, we see the world united IN LOVE and I’M HERE FOR IT! 🇺🇸 ❤️💙🇬🇧 I always say that I’m not really a fan of the romance genre, but I now have several go-to recommendations in this category, and this book is certainly one of them!

Don’t Feel Bad for Skipping:

⭐️⭐️⭐️📱 The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by: Jim DeFede (William Morrow) – Pub Date: September 3, 2002

(I’m on a 9/11 kick, if you can’t tell.) I was so curious about this town in Newfoundland that found their town suddenly hosting passengers from America-bound flights that couldn’t land due to the flight restrictions placed shortly after the events of 9/11 started. They graciously hosted almost 7,000 people by opening up their homes, their stores, and their restaurants. They refused to accept any money from the stranded passengers – their only goal was to make them feel safe and as comfortable as they could. I was inspired by their hospitality and it gave me hope that this world isn’t as dark as it can sometimes seem.

⭐️⭐️ 📖 *** Inland by: Téa Obreht (Random House) – Pub Date: August 13, 2019

Still mad I finished this book and didn’t give up sooner. It just lacked any engagement and I was supremely bored the whole time!

⭐️⭐️ 📖 Disappearing Earth by: Julia Phillips (Knopf) – Pub Date: May 14, 2019

Similar to Inland, this one was heavy on descriptions but light on cohesion and interest. It read more like a collection of short stories, but promised to make sense at the end and that really didn’t happen for me.

Not For Me (AKA: DNF):

📖 Call Me By Your Name by: André Aciman (Atlantic Books)

I had such high hopes, but I got lost in the detailed writing. I found myself checking out too much to care.

📱 I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through the TV Revolution by: Emily Nussbaum (Random House) – Pub Date: June 25, 2019

If you’re a big TV fanatic (I am not), then I think you’d enjoy this book. I don’t really watch a lot of TV so most of this went right over my head.

📱 *** On the Corner of Love and Hate by: Nina Bocci (Gallery) – Pub Date: August 20, 2019

I don’t know…I just couldn’t get into this one.

📱 If Beale Street Could Talk by: James Baldwin (The Dial Press) – Pub Date: 1974

Another book that I just couldn’t get into. I’m noticing that most of my DNFs are when I’m reading on my Kindle, so I wonder if there’s a correlation.

📱*** On Swift Horses by: Shannon Pufahl (Riverhead) – Pub  Date: November 5, 2019

This book has hope and promise and I may revisit in hard copy someday. But as for now, I couldn’t get into it at all. Just because I love the cover and the premise so much, I forced myself to keep trying, but I’m finally throwing in the towel at 22%.

What was your favorite read in September?

(#partner #freebooks: All books noted by asterisks (***) indicate I received the book for free from the publisher, the author, or another promotional company to review. All opinions are my own.)