Book Tags, TBRs

Organizing my TBR XI

I was inspired by Charlotte’s posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).

I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).

I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll use the Goodreads rating instead.


  • All the Rage
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 2. Friends’ Ratings, 4.5.
    • Score: 2.83, remove.
    • I loved Sadie, but there’s nothing really drawing me to this.
  • Gather the Daughters
    • Priority, 3. Interest, 4. Friends’ Ratings, 4.
    • Score: 3.67, keep.
  • Reincarnation Blues
    • Priority, 1. Interest, 2. Friends’ Ratings, 3.67.
    • Score: 2.22, remove.
  • Mockingbird, Vol. 1
    • Priority, 1. Interest, 1. Friends’ Ratings, 4.
    • Score: 2, remove.
    • I don’t even know why this is on here, I don’t really care for most superhero comics.
  • Camp Midnight
    • Priority, 1. Interest, 1. Goodreads Ratings, 3.69.
    • Score: 1.9, remove.
    • I don’t know why this is on here either, I don’t really read MG and this art style doesn’t appeal to me.
  • Wytches, Vol. 1
    • Priority, 5. Interest, 5. Friends’ Ratings, 3.47.
    • Score: 4.49, add to tbr asap.
    • I think I have a copy of this annnd it takes place in NH, so I want to read this SOON.
  • The Beasties
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Goodreads Ratings, 3.83.
    • Score: 2.94, remove.
  • Dear Martin
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 2. Friends’ Ratings, 3.95.
    • Score: 2.65, remove.
    • I know this is an important topic, but I’ve been moving away from YA, so.
  • Ultimate Sacrifice
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 5.
    • Score: 3.33, keep.
  • No One Cares About Crazy People
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 2.5. Friends’ Ratings, 2.
    • Score: 2.17, remove.
    • Probably better books on the topic.
  • Taproot
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 4.5.
    • Score: 3.17, keep.
  • On Writing
    • Priority, 3. Interest, 5. Friends’ Ratings, 4.39.
    • Score: 4.13, keep.
  • Women Walk the Line
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 4. Goodreads Ratings, 3.88.
    • Score: 3.29, keep.
  • Under the Udala Trees
    • Priority, 3. Interest, 5. Friends’ Ratings, 4.
    • Score: 4, keep.
  • The Roanoke Girls
    • Priority, 3. Interest, 4. Friends’ Ratings, 3.57
    • Score: 3.52, keep.

TBR at Start of Series: 1282
TBR Today: 1435 (lolll help me)
TBR Now: 1425


I removed a whopping 10 books today. I also added 1 to my tbr asap shelf. The reason I removed so many more than usual is because I sort of changed how I did my ratings. Before, I had been rating “interest” based on what I thought my personal rating would be if I did read the books. I felt like that wasn’t really a fair indicator of interest, so I’ve decided to think of it in terms of how likely I would be to add the book to my tbr if I saw it for the first time today. There are plenty of books I bet I would rate 3 stars, but also would have no urge to add to my tbr. This seems like a more honest way of looking at things, and makes it easier to remove stuff.

Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Mr. Mercedes [review]

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy #1) by Stephen King
Published by Pocket Books on December 29, 2015 (originally 2014)
my rating: ★★
Goodreads avg:
3.96 (as of 2020-01-14)

Goodreads IndieBound | Author Website


Minor spoilers ahead.

This was generally quite readable, but I didn’t find myself invested in the main character at all. The romance was half-baked, didn’t feel real, and was only included so the LI could be fridged in order to further motivate Bill. The casual/explicit racism in this runs rampant: King is constantly using the n-word, gives a black side character a recurring joke about being a literal slave to the white MC (to the point where the kid calls him “Massa Hodges”), and makes the villain vilely racist in a way that I felt was just not necessary.

Hodges has read there are wells in Iceland so deep you can drop a stone down them and never hear the splash. He thinks some human souls are like that.

Both Bill and the aforementioned side character, Jerome, treat a second side character, Holly, like absolute garbage because of her mental illness. She seems to suffer from only anxiety and OCD, but gets treated like she’s a lunatic because she takes… lexapro. Lexapro is an extremely common medication used for anxiety and depression. I felt like mental illness was being hugely stigmatized here, especially because Holly is treated like she’s soft and useless. King is almost able to flip the trope he’s using, but falls short. Instead of having Hodges and Jerome admit their preconceived notions were wrong, he has them say shit like “it’s humbling to find he’s been scooped by a Lexapro-dependent neurotic.”

The last sound she makes on earth–everyone should be so lucky–is a laugh.

Anyway, I just didn’t have any patience for this. You can write realistic, flawed characters while still challenging problematic viewpoints, which wasn’t accomplished here. To add insult to injury, I didn’t find anything compelling about the plot itself. While I could sit down and read for sizeable chunks of time, I was still just reading for the sake of finishing it and not because I truly wanted to. Mr. Mercedes was honestly a huge disappointment and I have no plans to finish out the trilogy.


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Body Lies [review]

The Body Lies by Jo Baker
Published by Knopf on June 18, 2019
my rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads avg:
3.49 (as of 2020-01-10)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads IndieBound | Author Website

When a young writer accepts a job at a university in the remote English countryside, it’s meant to be a fresh start, away from the bustle of London and the scene of a violent assault she is desperate to forget. But despite the distractions of her new life and the demands of single motherhood, her nerves continue to jangle. To make matters worse, a vicious debate about violence against women inflames the tensions and mounting rivalries in her creative-writing class. When a troubled student starts turning in chapters that blur the lines between fiction and reality, the professor recognizes herself as the main character in his book–and he has written her a horrific fate. Will she be able to stop life imitating art before it’s too late? At once a breathless cat-and-mouse game and a layered interrogation of the fetishization of the female body, The Body Lies gives us an essential story for our time that will have you checking the locks on your doors.


I was first drawn to The Body Lies after reading Rachel’s incredible review of it. I’m glad to have gotten her perspective, because I can see how going into this expecting a thriller would be disappointing. This is not a fast-paced crime novel; this is a quietly terrifying piece of literary fiction. Baker presents an examination of trauma as well as the objectification of women’s bodies that I will not be forgetting anytime soon.

The atmosphere is key here. An undercurrent of tension runs throughout this novel. As a reader I nearly always was on the edge of my seat waiting for things to go south even though, strictly speaking, not much was happening. Baker is masterful at making you truly feel the main character’s anxieties without even telling you what they are. I was incredulous at how certain events impacted me; events that objectively I wouldn’t have felt anything for become absolutely heart-wrenching when placed into context.

This is in part a tongue-in-cheek commentary about how women’s bodies are typically used in thrillers. Baker turns these tropes on their head, criticizing them while also demonstrating how to utilize them effectively. The setting really works here: a creative writing class allows us to see examples firsthand in an organic manner. The excerpts of her students’ writing don’t feel forced, and they add a great deal to the story.

What I found most impactful in this book was its portrayal (and analysis) of trauma. At the outset of the book, the narrator is attacked by a man on the street. The ways this impacts her life are both large and small, and I felt Baker did an incredible job of demonstrating that. Additionally, it quickly becomes clear that those outside a traumatic incident are not necessarily able to understand, or even notice, these impacts. My heart ached reading this; I felt like Baker was able to reach deep down inside me.

I honestly cannot recommend this book highly enough. As I said before, it will do you no good to go into this expecting a true thriller with a twisty plot. But if you’re looking for something dark and quiet that explores the way we treat women, you’re in for quite the treat. I’m certain I’ll be coming back to this again and recommending it left and right. Already my favorite book of the year (although I’ll revisit this in December), The Body Lies is honestly a masterpiece.


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Book Tags, TBRs

Organizing my TBR X

I was inspired by Charlotte’s posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).

I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).

I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll use the Goodreads rating instead.


  • Hemmed In
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Goodreads Ratings, 3.5.
    • Score: 2.83, remove.
  • Opening Up
    • Priority, 4. Interest, 5. Goodreads Ratings, 4.1.
    • Score: 4.37, keep.
  • The Ethical Slut
    • Priority, 5. Interest, 5. Friends’ Ratings, 5.
    • Score: 5, tbr asap.
    • Well, 5 is a first!
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 3.77.
    • Score: 2.92, remove.
  • The Wood
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 4.
    • Score: 3, keep.
  • Wild
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3.5. Goodreads Ratings, 4.25.
    • Score: 3.08, keep.
  • The Night Brother
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Goodreads Ratings, 3.82.
    • Score: 2.94, remove.
  • Body Horror
    • Priority, 4. Interest, 5. Friends’ Ratings, 5.
    • Score: 4.67, tbr asap.
  • Girlfriend in a Coma
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 4.
    • Score: 3, keep.
  • Redwall
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 2. Friends’ Ratings, 4.33.
    • Score: 2.44, remove.
  • Not Your Sidekick
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 3.57.
    • Score: 2.86, remove.
  • Orange
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 4. Friends’ Ratings, 4.38.
    • Score: 3.46, keep.
  • The List
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 2. Friends’ Ratings, 3.
    • Score: 2.33, remove.
  • The Fortunes
    • Priority, 3. Interest, 4. Friends’ Ratings, 4.
    • Score: 3.67, keep.
  • Frozen Charlotte
    • Priority, 2. Interest, 3. Friends’ Ratings, 2.67
    • Score: 2.56, remove.

TBR at Start of Series: 1282
TBR Today: 1439 (lolll help me)
TBR Now: 1428


I removed a whopping 11 books today, which is 55% of the books I looked at. I also added 2 to my tbr asap shelf and had 1 already on it. The reason I removed so many more than usual is because I sort of changed how I did my ratings. Before, I had been rating “interest” based on what I thought my personal rating would be if I did read the books. I felt like that wasn’t really a fair indicator of interest, so I’ve decided to think of it in terms of how likely I would be to add the book to my tbr if I saw it for the first time today. There are plenty of books I bet I would rate 3 stars, but also would have no urge to add to my tbr. This seems like a more honest way of looking at things, and makes it easier to remove stuff.

Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

A Crime in the Neighborhood [review]

A Crime in the Neighborhood by Suzanne Berne
Published by Algonquin Books on January 6, 1997
my rating: ★★
Goodreads avg:
3.43 (as of 2020-01-08)
Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author Website

An auspicious debut novel by a young writer who will remind readers of Anne Lamott and Anne Tyler “A Crime in the Neighborhood” centers on a headline event — the molestation and murder of a twelve-year-old boy in a Washington, D.C., suburb. At the time of the murder, 1973, Marsha was nine years old and as an adult she still remembers that summer as a time when murder and her own family’s upheaval were intertwined. Everyone, it seemed to Marsha at the time, was committing crimes. Her father deserted his family to take up with her mother’s younger sister. Her teenage brother and sister were smoking and shoplifting, and her mother was “flirting” with Mr. Green, the new next-door neighbor. Even the president of the United States seemed to be a crook. But it is Marsha’s own suspicions about who committed this crime that has the town up in arms and reveals what happens when fear runs wild.


I’m sure there are readers who adore this book. I’m sure there are brilliant messages one can glean from the words written here. Unfortunately, that was all wasted on me. This book and I just did not get along. There’s nothing especially heinous about the writing or the plot; I just felt like I was being dragged through it. Part of this is my fault: I was expecting something closer to a thriller while the crime aspect of this novel is very much downplayed. This is absolutely more slice-of-life literary fiction with a dash of mystery to it.

By then she was already referring to my father in the past tense. “Larry used to like that show,” she might say if we were all in the living room trying to watch television. He would look up and lightly shudder.

Another thing I struggled with was just not enjoying the narrator. I found Marsha to be quite bland. As a child, she wanders around, watches people, and eavesdrops on conversations. The little agency she has is used negatively, and brought me to actively dislike her. While this book is about adult Marsha looking back on her childhood, I felt this perspective didn’t add much. The analyses she provide did not help me to better understand what I was reading.

She stumbled a little, reaching out toward the screen. The notebook fell open at her feet, just behind the heel of her left sandal. One of the pages had got bent in the throwing, and for some reason, this bent page shocked me; it seemed as grievous an offense as what I had just done to my mother.

I’m truly not sure how much of my dislike is purely personal preference, so I would not turn anyone away from reading this, as long as they understand that this more an exploration of suburban life and less a true mystery. This was a buddy read and I hope that the rest of the group has a better experience with it, because I think there is promise here that I was just unable to unearth myself.


Here I will later be sharing reviews from the rest of the buddy read group as they are posted! (I finished extremely early).


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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Jane Anonymous [review]

Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz
To be published by Wednesday Books on January 7, 2020
my rating: ★★
Goodreads avg: 
4.17 (as of 2019-12-28)
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” Three months of writing down everything she remembered from those seven months locked up in that stark white room. But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?


I was going into this expecting an interesting exploration of trauma and that was… not what I got. Clearly I’m in the minority, looking at the average GR rating, but I felt like this was a major disappointment. This follows Jane, a teenage girl using a pseudonym as she writes about her experiences as a captive but also as she tries to adjust to life back home. The story flips back and forth between past and present as Jane recollects what happened to her.

There were so many frustrating pieces of this that I felt went beyond my suspension of disbelief. Jane’s friends and family are honestly downright awful to her after she returns. I’m sure this is realistic to an extent, but what could have been an examination of how trauma impacts everyone differently just turned into her mom telling her she needs to get over it and be happy she’s home now. I just wasn’t able to believe that her parents, who also went through extreme trauma after their daughter was kidnapped, refused to have any sort of sympathy for her. One of her friends did do really well with understanding her trauma, but I wish that had been looked at on a deeper level. There were also some pretty nasty depictions of wounds and unwashed bodies that felt, frankly, rather unnecessary and more for shock value than anything else. Some of them, especially towards the end, actually had me rolling my eyes and wondering why this had to be so over-the-top. 

There were other bits that had me wondering whether I was living in a separate reality, and that I hope were caught by an editor before the finished version. One was when Jane picks up a 25 lb object and remarks on how grateful she is for her strength training. Like, okay, don’t strain yourself. The second was when Jane noted that after maybe two months in captivity, her leg hairs were two inches long. I’m sure this is possible, but is it likely?? Probably not. (For comparison, I haven’t shaved my legs in 7 years and mine is around an inch long. An article I found in a five-second google search tells me hair grows an average of 1 cm every 28 days and body hair typically stops growing after 30-45 days.)

Anyway, the last two may have been nitpicky but they also pulled me out of the story and had me rolling my eyes and laughing — something you don’t really want in a tense thriller. I think at least the twist would have been exciting had I not seen someone spoil it in a review that was not marked for spoilers, ugh. If the above aren’t things you think would bother you, I think this would be worth reading. I think it was the combination of unbelievable factors and the lack of more nuanced exploration of trauma that really made it not work for me.


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Bookworm Blogging

2019 Reading Statistics

I love statistics! I religiously use Brock’s spreadsheet throughout the year and think seeing the results are so fun. I actually hope to take advantage of more stats in 2020 than I did in 2019. Here’s what I have for the past year.

Books By Genre

Most of the books I read in 2019 were actually non-fiction (15), followed by fantasy (14), science fiction (11), and a tie for horror and contemporary (10 each).

Books by Month

You can see where I hit a slump in July, and then hit a wave(?) in August! Other than that, I’ve mostly been consistent at hitting around 7 books per month.

Books by Age Group

This year I read mostly adult, with about a quarter of YA, and a sprinkle of MG and NA. I’m definitely pulling more and more away from YA, so we’ll see if that trend continues in 2020.

Books by Status

Only about 6% of the books I read were re-reads, and I only DNFed close to 9% of the books I picked up (9 total).

By Rating

I always find these ones super interesting! While my average rating for 2019 was 3.76, I had way more 4-star reviews (33) than any others. I also had a good amount of 5-star ratings (17!!). Only one book managed to sink to 1 star, while five books each went to 2 and 2.5 stars.

Books in Days

I have to pull the chart on the left so that rows make more sense. You can see from this that I averaged almost 2400 pages a month (holy cow). What I find more interesting is the chart on the right! It’s wild to think that I average almost 80 pages a day, but I think it’s sometimes hard for me to tell how much I’ve read when I’m reading ebooks.

Do you tend to nerd out on statistics? Ever keep a spreadsheet of your reading?


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Book Tags, TBRs

Organizing my TBR IX

I was inspired by Charlotte’s posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).

I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).

I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll use the Goodreads rating instead.


TBR at Start of Series: 1282
TBR Today: 1437 (lolll help me)
TBR Now: 1432


I removed a mere five books today, which is a sad 25%. I’m really excited that I’ve started doing this, since it’s clear there are so many books I’m no longer interested in that are bogging down my TBR. Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂

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Bookworm Blogging

Top Reads of 2019

Another year of reading in the books! I made things easier for myself this year and kept a running tally of my favorite books as I read so that making this list would be easier. While they are somewhat organized in order from top faves to top top faves, I’d say the order is not set in stone and that they’re all mostly interchangeable. But without further ado!

15. If, Then by Kate Hope Day
14. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
13. Aquarium by David Vann
12. A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
11. Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá

10. Squire by Tamora Pierce
9. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
8. I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
7. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
6. Evicted by Matthew Desmond

5. American Predator by Maureen Callahan
4. Full Throttle by Joe Hill
3. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
2. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
1. Normal People by Sally Rooney


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Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2019 Wrap-Up

December was a weird, slumpy month. At the end of November, my family lost our cat of 16 years, which put me into a bit of a depression. I started a second job, which has left me with less time for reading and blogging. And I start my Master’s in January, so my pseudo hiatus will probably continue. Nevertheless, I am very excited for what 2020 has to bring, even if it means less reading for pleasure!

Books Read:

  • A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert. 4 stars, review.
  • Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. 2.5 stars, review.
  • When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn. 4 stars, review.
  • Dead of Winter by Kealan Patrick Burke. 3 stars, review.
  • Far From You by Tess Sharpe. 3 stars, review.
  • The Grownup by Gillian Flynn. 4 stars, review.
  • Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz. 2 stars, review.

Books read: 7 books
Average rating: 3.21 stars

Other Media:

  • Movies:
  • TV Shows:
    • Barry, Season 2. Yes, again.
    • The Great British Basking Show, Season 3 Eps 5-7.
  • Video Games:
    • Pokemon Sword!!! I love it.

Notable Posts by Others:

  • I failed at this in December!

My Month in Photos:

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