Happy New Year 2022

May your upcoming year be full of excellent books, new and favorite authors, and many happy ever afters!

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Posted by on January 1, 2022 in Uncategorized


December Reads Wrap-Up

After a rather slow November, December was a pretty successful month for me, both on the reading and listening front. While I didn’t meet my yearly goal of 300 books, I still read 225 overall – which considering grad school and not having all the time in isolation (or as I termed it COVID-cation) that I had in 2020 was still pretty good!

Top Reads/Listens for December were:

  • The Forest of Vanishing Stars – Kristin Harmel – I’d previously read about the Bielski Brothers during WW2, so this was an interesting take on a similar story
  • The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren – I’m pretty sure i’m one of the few people that until now had never read CL)
  • Written in the Stars – Alexandria Bellefleur – i’m loving all the f/f romances that are being traditionally published right now
  • Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness – David Casarett – this was a total random pick-up from the library, because I was looking for a book with the word hotel in the title and the second book in the series (one of my early 2022 reads) met that requirement, but I had to read this one first.
  • The Dry/Force of Nature – Jane Harper – I rarely go direct from one book in a series to the next, but I did this with Jane Harper’s Aaron Falk series – I can only hope that she is planning on writing more about him in the future.

What great books did you read in December?

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Posted by on January 1, 2022 in Uncategorized


Movie Monday – The Return

So Movie Monday was a short-running blog feature that I started back in 2018 and then like many things it fizzled (hello, distraction, and bright shiny new things) – but as I was sitting in the movie theatre for Sing2 over the weekend, as well as re-watching Encanto at home I figured that I would kick it off again.

I’ve been an AMC A-List+ member for 2 years now (and prior to that used the now-defunct nationwide movie pass) which lets me see up to 3 movies a week (although I rarely do), so hopefully, I’ll have some good ones to discuss in the near future!

There are a ton of movies coming out over the next year that I’m uber-excited to see and hopefully, you’ll enjoy my thoughts/witty repartee after I see them.

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Posted by on December 27, 2021 in Uncategorized


Non-Fiction November Week 5

One of my favorite things about the end of Non-Fiction November is that not that it’s ending (which is always sad) but looking back at all the different posts from the month and figuring out which books I want to add to my already toppling TBR. My additions this were came both from various blogs that I read through-out the month, but also books that I discovered while I was looking at new(er) releases in Non-Fiction (my library now has new non-fiction right off to the side when you walk in the door and I find myself making a bee-line there whenever I visit).

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Posted by on December 2, 2021 in Uncategorized


Non-Fiction November Week 4

I love the saying “Truth is stranger than fiction” because often times when I’m reading a non-fiction book I have to be like, hang on, really? I had no idea that could even happen. For my book choices this week, I literally googled strange non-fiction and browsed what came up in the results – so like most of my reading, its fairly eclectic.

Asleep – Molly Caldwell Crosby

I love medical mysteries and how people solve or attempt to solve them – this shouldn’t be any surprise considering that House was one of my favorite shows when it was on TV. I remember clearly the one episode in house where the wife is ultimately diagnosed with a sleeping sickness – and reading the description of this book it is that episode that came to mind. I found it interesting in the description that the diagnosis of encephalitis lethargica didn’t just result in never-ending sleep but also catatonia, insomnia (which seems very counter to the name of the disease) and Parkinson’s.

Island of the Lost – Joan Druett

I’ve always been fascinated by people who survive shipwrecks, steaming back to my childhood when I read (and loved) The Cay as well as the perennial classic, The Swiss Family Robinson. Island of the Lost also seems to tie in well to my enjoyment of understanding psychology and behavior when faced with challenges. The description reminds me some of how different clans/common groups of people are formed and how they react (or don’t react) in the face of certain stimuli. Bonus, its free to read in Kindle Unlimited if you have a subscription, so its going to the top of my pile.

Driving With Dead People – Monica Holloway

When I first saw the title of this book, I immediately thought about one of my favorite paranormal romance authors, Molly Harper – she has a vampire romance called Driving Mr. Dead, and while I knew they weren’t related, the idea of someone voluntarily driving in a hearse and picking up bodies just made a shiver go up my spine. It seems to also pair well with Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty which I read a few years ago. Plus the cover with 2 girls sitting on a hearse just made me giggle (much better than some of the other covers for this book that I saw on Goodreads).

The Trials of Nina McCall – Scott W. Stern

One of my favorite non-fiction books from this past year was The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore about Elizabeth Packard who was sent to a mental asylum in the 1860’s for disagreeing with her husband – while The Trials of Nina McCall occurs nearly 60 years later, it seems to have some common themes to the Kate Moore book – I’ve never heard “American Plan” referenced in any of my studies of history (not that I’m actually surprised by that) and it makes me want to read some more on it but as one Goodreads reviewer pointed out finding evidence of it isn’t common because its just not talked about. My academic interests have tended towards public policy in the recent past, so I know i’m going to dig some more in to this.

What Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction books do you recommend?

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Posted by on November 24, 2021 in Uncategorized



Non-Fiction November Week 3

What can I say? I actually like all of the featured weeks during Non-fiction November – I know that I said last week the book pairings one was a favorite of mine – but so is the Be The Expert/Ask The Expert/Become the Expert. This year I’m going the Become the Expert route based on my desire to continue reading about the role of class and race in the U.S. This theme drew my interest after I listened to Caste by Isabel Wilkerson earlier this year. For me, this week is always fun because I can dig into recommendations for books from a variety of sources – this year my Become the Expert recommendations came from “Readers Also Enjoyed” off Goodreads for the Caste book entry as well as from the Read-alikes section of NoveList (which is a service I just discovered from my library).

The Sum of Us – Heather McGhee – I first came across this book when I was looking for one to nominate for a group read in one of my Goodreads groups. What drew me to this book was that it doesn’t just address racism with relation to the African-American population, but also how it impacts White Americans and individuals who identify with other racial groups. I like the authors’ hypothesis of the Solidarity Dividend that gains will come when we come together across race to achieve goals.

The Color of Law – Richard Rothstein – Recently the Secretary of Transportation (Pete Buttigieg) came under fire for a statement made during a press conference about how infrastructure in the US was influenced by racist policies that placed certain groups of citizens at disadvantages. I had heard about some of these policies (ie. Redlining) in passing but hadn’t read anything in-depth. I figure if I wanted to learn more about these policies, then reading a book about the history of different housing laws and policies would be a good place to start.

Say It Loud – Randall Kennedy – This is a relatively new release (September 2021) but spans two decades of events and derived legal analysis – the listed essays are written by many key contributors to the body of research on race and class in the United States. Topics of essays include The George Floyd Moment: Promise and Peril and The Constitutional Roots of “Birtherism” I’m planning on using this book to fulfill the collection prompt for this year’s event.

Four Hundred Souls – Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain – I have to say this out loud, I actually didn’t finish How to be Anti-racist (in that the audiobook just wasn’t working for me and I have the print version on my ebook wishlist) – but that being said, Four Hundred Souls went immediately on my to-be-read pile when it was released earlier this year. Similar to Say It Loud, Four Hundred Souls is a series of essays – but rather than key events in history and legal decisions, Four Hundred Souls covers over four hundred years of history.

Broke in America – Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddox – I’ve always found myself in a relatively privileged situation – meaning that I don’t struggle to find food each day, I’ve had access to good education and consistent employment through my adult life. However, not everyone in the US has had those advantages, in fact from the book description, nearly 40 million people in the US live below the poverty line (as defined by $26,200 for a family of four). I’ve previously read some books about poverty in the US (specifically Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond and $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn Edin) so I’m hoping to broaden my knowledge on this topic to better inform my perspective and understanding.

The South Side – Natalie Y. Moore – as I write this post, I’m sitting in Chicago visiting my sister – so this book caught me eye as it looks at how the city has become segregated which ties into many of the themes mentioned in Caste. As with several of the other books i’ve picked, the story is told through a series of essays. Reviews seem to be kind of hit or miss for this (they seem to bounce between either 1 star of 5 stars on goodreads) – so it will be interesing to see what side i come out on.

It Was All A Dream – Reniqua Allen – Often after reading a news article about a social policy that has detractors, or some kind of event that caused civil unrest – i hear, well, they just need to do better or work harder to get a better life (or other trite sayings). From reading the description, this book tells the stories of young Black Americans trying to do just that. I fall squarely into the millenial population, so the people who’s stories are in this book, are my peers which makes it even more attractive to me.

How To Kill A City – Peter Moskowitz – I remember when I moved to Maryland in 2010, I was working at the Navy Yard and the short 10 minute walk from the metro was just not something you did in the middle of the night (and since I was on shift-work, it was part of my routine) – now, I walk through the same area that has been completely gentrified to include new condos that cost in the 1 million plus range. I had never really thought about the impact those changes have on the general population who can’t afford to live in those areas (and its gotten even worse since the pandemic with the real estate market going insane). That is part of what caught my attention when I was reading the description of this book – understanding how these housing policies affect certain segments of the population.

Dying of Whiteness – Jonathan M. Metzl – I know this book and its connect to the others mentioned in this post is very tenuous but its something that I found intriguing. As I watch the political cycle play out in the US (most recently with the Infrastructure Bill that was just signed), I have to wonder why representatives vote against policies that will help their communities but also why do communities keep voting for people that don’t appear to have their best interests at heart. This book seems like it might try to dive into some of those reasons through the eyes of a Doctor in America’s Heartland. I have a feeling this could be a controversial read which is why I currently have it sitting in my car (in print) and I can’t wait to dig into it – although I likely won’t finish it this Non-Fiction November.

Fucked at Birth – Dale Maharidge – ok so i’ll totally admit that the only reason I added this book to my to-read pile aside from the theme was because of the title. There has been a lot in the media lately about social aid to the population (Universal Pre-K; Universal Basic Income, increases to social safety nets) – the purpose of this book seems to be examining how those could be used to help people get ahead – those who are quote “fucked at birth” and its seen as fate that people just have to live this way. It seems to be a fairly short book – doubt I’ll get it read this month – but i’m intriguing.

Here are a quick summary of a few books that I will help will let me start becoming the expert on race and social class in the US.

Do you have any books that you think I should add to my list?

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Posted by on November 18, 2021 in Uncategorized


Non-Fiction November Week 2

The Non-fiction November prompt for this week (book pairings) is always one of my favorite ones because I can explore both fiction books I’ve read and what non-fiction books pair well or vice-versa. I have 2 recommendations for if you liked this, you might like this non-fiction option to learn more.

Heroine – Mindy McGinnis and Dopesick – Beth Macy

So I actually read Heroine a couple years ago, but as I was listening to Dopesick right before Non-Fiction November kicked off, I knew that I wanted to pair the two of them together for this week’s feature. Heroine pairs well with Dopesick because it’s the story of someone who finds themselves addicted to the painkillers prescribed to help after a car accident. I thought McGinnis did a great job of developing the character and paralleling many of the themes that were echo’d in Dopesick. I don’t know if McGinnis read Dopesick while she was writing Heroine, but they felt like they worked well together.

New York 2140 – Kim Stanley Robinson and The Water Will Come – Jeff Goodell

So I feel like I’m kind of cheating here because I’m actually halfway through New York 2140 right now – but I’ve had this desire to read more about Climate Change over the past few months and this is a good science-fiction to get you started. The Water Will Come is the non-fiction I’m pairing it with because it directly addresses the threats from rising sea levels around the world and how various countries are attempting to deal with these rising levels, how they are developing barriers to try and prevent the continual flooding. I’m currently enrolled in a graduate program for National Security and a recent assignment involved doing an infographic on a threat to National Security. I chose to do rising sea levels, due in part to what I had listened to in New York 2140 already, as well as my affiliation with the Navy. It was honestly scary to read some of the climate modelings that has been done, related to sea levels and the potential cost associated with reinforcing buildings/building new ones etc.

What About You – what fiction books have you read this year that would pair with non-fiction? What books should I add to my (ever-growing) to-be-read pile?

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Posted by on November 8, 2021 in Uncategorized


Non-Fiction November – Week 1

Non-Fiction November is an event I always look forward to because it makes my TBR pile just explode and then for the next year, I have a good list of non-fiction books to choose from. I love reading people’s blog updates to see what they read the previous year and what they are considering reading for the upcoming month. This first week of Non-Fiction November is dedicated to reviewing books read during the last year and highlighting favorites.

While I was reviewing all the non-fiction books that I read during the last year, it was pretty easy for me to identify which ones had risen to the top of the pile for my favorites. It kind of surprised me that several of my favorites were memoirs or biographies – one was even the memoir of an animal (and I had a couple other similar books during the year).

Books Most Recommend: I’ve probably recommended all of my favorite books at least once. Several (Fallout, Dopesick and The Woman They Could Not Silence), I’ve mentioned in my current master’s programs as books that fit various topics we were discussing. Caste is a book that should be part of any college curriculum in history or sociology – it is a must-read to me. A Promised Land made me feel both alternately sad and happy at the same time – there was something soothing about listening to Former President Obama reading his memoir and I can’t wait for the second book to come out (maybe in 2022?).

Most Common Theme: Looking back through my 2020-21 reads, I didn’t really have any prominent themes that stuck out to me – if I had to say one, then it probably would have been World War 2 non-fiction – I read a couple of books about different concentration camps, as well as one about the detonation of the atomic bomb (Fallout – which was also one of my favorite reads).

Non-Fiction Reads from December 1, 2020 to October 31, 2021

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

April 2021

May 2021

June 2021

July 2021

August 2021

September 2021

October 2021

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Posted by on November 2, 2021 in Uncategorized


October Reading Wrap-Up

As promised, here is my first post back after my hiatus – a wrap-up of my October reading. I know that it looks like a crazy amount to some people, but my normal reads can exceed 30+ books a month – so the 16 books seen here is definitely on the low-end of a normal month tally.

Favorite Books of the Month

Dopesick – I saw this was being made into a Hulu mini-series, but I knew that I wanted to read/listen to it before watching the adaptation of it – its also been loitering on my TBR pile for several years. Dopesick garnered one of my few 5-star reads of the year – yes, it was more of a human interest story, vs. hard-hitting reporting on the opioid crisis – but I was sucked in because I felt like I was rooting for the people who were featured, wanting them to kick their addiction. I was also surprised how much of it was set in the area where I went to college (Virginia Tech – Blacksburg, VA) because the epidemic was in that area while I was going to school and I don’t remember hearing anything about it.

Battle Royal – if you take Great British Baking Show, mix in a Rivals to Lovers theme and a royal wedding – then you would have the major thematic elements of Battle Royal. I was totally sucked in during the reading – I didn’t want to put it down, which resulted in a few last nights of reading and blurry eyes the next day in class. The author (Lucy Parker) is a new to me author, but not a new author – so I’m excited to check out some of her backlist.

Manners & Mutiny – I’m not sure why the last 2 books in the Finishing School series (this one and Waistcoats & Weaponry) hung out on my TBR pile for so long – in fact Waistcoats & Weaponry sat half-finished for several years until I picked it back up in September. These last two books wrapped up the series in a pretty bow – which is something I always appreciate because I don’t have to pick up another series to see what happens. But I can see how things that happened in the Parasol Protectorate were set up in this series. I can’t wait to read more books by Gail Carriger in the future (the next series up is the Custard Protocal)

Least Favorite Books of the Month

The Echelon Vendetta – As I was reading this, I quickly realized why it had loitered on my Kindle TBR pile for close to a decade (I picked it mostly for a challenge that involves reading books that have been on your TBR shelf for a long time). While the plot was semi-decent – it was just a bit ehhh for me…won’t be continuing the series, but glad to get it off my epic TBR pile.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – While this was marketed as YA, I can’t help but think the actions of the protagonist were definitely on the very young side of the spectrum, even though she was supposed to be a junior in High School. I don’t know if she was supposed to seem that naive, but when compared to other YA written in the same time frame, with similar aged characters, her character just didn’t work for me. But I know other people who have enjoyed this book and the subsequent ones. Won’t be continuing the series and I don’t think I even want to try the movie on Netflix.

That about wraps up my October – How was yours? What good books did you read? Any recommendations for me?

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Posted by on November 1, 2021 in Uncategorized


Wow…Its been a year….

After struggling for a couple hours last night to get my WordPress account log-in working, I finally got in and was mildly shocked to realize that its been nearly a year since I’ve blogged (363 days to be exact). I guess life just got away from me – my last post occurred during Non-Fiction November 2020 while I was deployed (I was in Greece at the time). I got back mid-2021 and rolled right into an academic program – so all my reading/blogging time has been taken over with studying and paper writing school. But I’m going to try and start again, at least monthly to provide a summary of what has gone on in the previous month.


Posted by on November 1, 2021 in Uncategorized