September 2021 TBR

I have so many things planned for this month. I just hope that I can get around doing it all. And where, you may ask, is this motivation coming from? I am trying to distract myself because I am waiting for some news in the next few weeks and the wait is killing me. I am in full planning mode and because I can’t plan yet for the other thing, I might as well plan for the blog and my reading.

Given that September marks the back-to-school season, I wanted to incorporate at least one read that I associate with school. I can’t believe that it’s been over 10 years now since I was last in school, and by that I mean college. Am I really that old?! Feeling nostalgic, I want to go back in time and remember all the books that I read when I was younger. Stay tuned for those posts.

Also, can we really be marking the 20th anniversary of 9/11? I can still remember what I was doing that day, as if it was yesterday. Upon perusing my shelves to figure out what I wanted to read this month, I came across a nonfiction book that I have had on my shelves for years and never read. I thought it fitting to add to my TBR this month given the anniversary.

As for the rest of my TBR, it is as usual so I am going to just dive right in.

Book Club Picks

Middlemarch” by George Eliot
(Parts 5-8)

The Modern Library Book Club has broken up this book into two months so my reading continues. I enjoyed the first half of the book and I am looking forward to see what the second half brings. I just hope that members of book club are enjoying it just as much as me.

Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe

This is the nonfiction pick for September in the Capital District Book Club. I heard this book is dense so I am hoping to start this book sooner rather than later. I have about two weeks to get this one done.

It’s been a while since I have participated in the Society of Avid Readers Across the Hudson Book Club and I figured it was about time that I joined them. This book is their September pick and I am really excited to get into it. I have a feeling that this a book that is going to stick with me and one that I am going to be recommending.

Mill Point Road” by JK Ellem

I am not sure if I am going to like this thriller, only because I may be having new neighbors of my own soon. This may hit a little too close to home. Otherwise, this book sounds like it’s going to be a fast read.

Personal Picks

I have had this book on my bookshelf for probably 10 years at least. Considering that we are about to celebrate 9/11, I thought it fitting to finally crack this one open. I am not sure if this will be dated given all that has come after but when we talk about the Iraq invasion, rarely do we discuss their Iraq perspective. I like stories like this that give me a glimpse into the other side.

Lord of the Flies” by William Golding

I think “Lord of the Flies” has been on my bookshelf the longest. I remember my brother having to read it in school and then he gave it to me to read. I never read it. I thought since it’s been a while since I had to read books for school, I would check it off my TBR once and for all. My husband says that it is a good book but disturbing, which is what I have heard from other people.


What books do you plan to read in September? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

August Reading Wrap-up

Where has the summer gone? Despite a week of hot and humid weather, we are right back to the gloomy, rainy days that has permeated the last few months. Technically, we do have a few weeks of summer left, but we all know that Labor Day marks the end of the season.

Despite the cold weather approaching, there are some exciting things going on in my life. I have to wait a few more weeks to be sure, but the fall could mean some big life changes for us. My husband and I are learning the value of patience, but the time consuming process that we are involved in is not making it easy.

To help distract myself, I am trying to just focus on reading. I think this is the first month in quite a while where I can say that I finished my TBR list, although to be fair, there was one book that I just did not bother finishing.

This book started out funny and ended up being somewhat sobering. Overall the Modern Library Book Club enjoyed “Ending Up,” though for a few of our elderly members, it was a little too realistic for comfort. It focuses on four elderly people who live together and their gripes about getting old. However, as we go along we uncover their personal demons and how they deal with getting older. For such a short novel, this book had so much going on, which is a credit to Kingsley Amis’ writing.

I absolutely loved “Project Hail Mary.” Although, Andy Weir loads this book with technical scientific writing, I was still able to understand everything that was going on. I loved how this story unfolded and how Weir used flashbacks to link the character’s past with the present. This was my first Weir book but it won’t be my last.

This was a book that was sent to me by a local author in upstate NY and it focuses on his childhood years growing up in Troy, NY in a house they called “The Embassy.” It was interesting glimpse into years that are long gone but reminded me of the stories of the 50s/60s that my parents shared all through my own childhood.

Cracking open a Jenny Lawson book feels like you pick up right where you left off with her, wherever that is. While she still provides some hilarious anecdotes, this book is more serious than her books of the past and provides a serious glimpse into the mental and physical challenges of anxiety and depression. I would highly recommend that people read her books.

So I have finished parts 1-4 of “Middlemarch” and I am really enjoying this book so far. I am still trying to digest what I have read so far, and we still have so much more to go. I plan to read the second half in September and I can’t wait to see what Eliot does with each of these characters.

I didn’t get far into this book before I got absolutely bored. I know that I should have given this book more of a chance but the lack of chapters or section breaks, as well as the character’s mixed thoughts just lost my interest. I ended up putting the book down and then had no desire to pick it up again. Maybe after hearing what others in book club think, I will want to pick it up again.


What did you read in August? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

TBR for August 2021

I am hoping that August will bring the summer that we have been missing out on here in upstate New York. While I don’t care for the hot humid days, I do miss the opportunities to lay out on the beach, which was my intention back in June before all the rain came in July. On a positive note, it looks like at least partly sunny for the next week. Here’s to hoping.

Things are picking back up at work and my calendar for August is quickly filling up. I am not so stressed as I have a new immediate boss and things are different with her than with my last boss. I think we are going to get along and working together is not going to be an issue. Which will make my life easier, especially since I have so much I want to do at home.

My husband and I are starting the daunting task of house hunting and it’s a lot more work than I thought it was going to be. I actually have pencil it into my schedule. However, it is fun to go traipsing through different houses to discover what we want, though some have been downright appalling.

Even with this crazy schedule of mine, I hope that will be able to get through my reading list this month.

Book Club picks

Ending Up” by Kingsley Amis

I didn’t get to this book last month but since we are going to be discussing it this week in Modern Library Book Club, I have no choice but get into it. However, I don’t think this book is going to take me long to read, as it sounds downright hilarious.

Wittgenstein’s Mistress” by David Markson

I had never heard of this book before someone in Metaphorically Speaking Book Club suggested it. The book is hard to find but I managed to purchase it online. I am intriqued by the title and the summary. I am hoping this is better than “Blonde” which I wasn’t able to finish.

Middlemarch” by George Eliot

I am so excited to finally read this book. It’s only been on my TBR forever, but I have always been intimidated by this book. Since it is such a large read, my book club has decided to break it up into two months so we will discuss parts 1-4 in September and parts 5-8 in October.

Personal picks

Broken (in the best possible way)” by Jenny Lawson

I know that as soon as I open this book, I am going be dying with laughter. I am going to try to get through my book club reads as fast as possible so I can tumble down the rabbit hole into Lawson’s world. She is always entertaining.

Reading wrap-up for July 2021

It feels like every month I comment on how fast time is moving and so I won’t comment on that this month. It’s become redundant, though a bit ironic as I have just finished a book that is all about time – not having enough while at the same time having all the time in the world. I will say that July has been a weird month and I think it has to do with all the rain that we have been getting in upstate NY. We have only had small pockets of sunshine to break up the gloominess and it has put a real damper on things.

I wish I can say the rain is the reason for my lack of reading this month. I did read a little more than last month but one of the books took me way too long and I didn’t even finish it. I wish that I had called it quits a little sooner. However the books I did read were better than I thought they would be.

I have finally finished “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was nervous by how long it took me, but while it did have a slow start, it picked up in the middle and I finished it quickly. I have always like Penelope and I liked how she and Colin’s story played out. It was more than I thought it was going to be.

“The Killers of the Flower Moon” was actually my July read for the Capital District Book Club and was not on my TBR list at the beginning of the month. This book is compelling to say the least and very educational. It tells the story of the murders among the Osage Native Americans in the early 1900s, which became the first case for the FBI. What I thought I knew about how our government treated Native Americans is nothing compared to what I learned about what the Osage went through. This book tells so much in a few hundred pages and our book club definitely had a lot to discuss. Overall, everyone liked this read.

This book ended up being a pleasant delight. On the back cover, there is a saying that sums up this book entirely – “A life noone will remember. A story you will never forget.” V.E. Schwab is definitely a great storyteller and has a way with words. Often I found myself stopping to reread a sentence for the second time because it was so unexpected. I am definitely going to put her in the authors to read category.

Despite my best efforts, I was unable to finish “Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates. Not only was it over 700 pages but it just dragged in some places. Though it’s a fictional telling of Marilyn Monroe’s life, with undoubtedly truth weaved in, this book read like a biography. I felt like I was getting a play by play and though I would have to read up on her to extrapolate the truth from fiction, I just couldn’t get into it. I only got about a quarter of the way through before I finally just put it down. Our book club ended up pushing our discussion date so people could have more time but I still couldn’t get through it. Unfortunately I ended up missing out on the discussion so I don’t know what everyone else thought of it.


What books did you read in July? Let’s discuss!

TBR for July 2021

I am not sure what happened to my reading streak from May but it seemed to fall to the wayside last month. I only read two books. Well that isn’t true. I read numerous books but I didn’t finish them. I now have a growing pile of incomplete books that I want to finish and it’s kind of giving me anxiety. I am not this person that doesn’t complete books. In an attempt to rectify this situation, I decided to forego the reading wrapup, because there isn’t anything to wrap up, and just jump into my reading list for July. It’s going to be mix of the books I have to read, the books I want to finish and the books I’m hoping to get to,

Book Club picks

Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates

So this is the July pick for my Metaphorically Speaking Book Club that I just didn’t get around to last month. My group meets on Friday so I am seriously cramming this 754-page book in one week, but I heard that it’s a fairly quick read. I was never overly interested in Marilyn Monroe, but maybe Oates’ fictional take on her story will capture my attention.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab

I have never read V.E. Schwab but this is the fiction pick for July in the Capital District Book Club. The plot sounds interesting. I have heard the hype about Schwab’s other books and if this books turns out to be just as good, I may have to read the others.

Ending Up” by Kingsley Amis

I had never heard about this book but it sounds like it’s going to be a good one. It’s about the elderly, specifically a small group living out the end of their days. I am sure parts of this book are going to be hilarious. Have you ever been around the elderly? They are on the same grounds of children in what they say or do being absolutely unexpected and outright outrageous. And I am sure that there are going to be many parts of this book I am going to relate to. Not because I am elderly (far from it) but rather because I have much older parents and have worked around seniors my whole life. I am actually looking forward to this book.

Personal picks

Broken (in the best possible way)” by Jenny Lawson

If there is one book I am going to devour this month, it’s going to be Lawson’s new book “Broken.” I was so happy when I received this book for my birthday and just reading the first page I was getting sucked in. Lawson feels like an old familiar friend.

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” by Julia Quinn

I am not sure why but this book is taking me forever to get through. I am not sure if it’s because I am just tiring of the series or if it’s the book itself. Maybe it’s on purpose since Penelope is one of those “boring” characters that noone really pays attention to in the book. I feel like I have been reading this book forever and I am not even halfway through it. Hoping to finish it soon.

Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell

So this was actually a book club read in June for the Capital District Book Club but I didn’t get a chance to finish it though it was really good. My book club really enjoyed it, which is all the more reason I am determined to finish it.

The Books I completed in June

Rebecca” and “Revolutionary Road” were both for Modern Library Book Club. “Rebecca” we discussed at the beginning of June and it was sooo good and the rest of the group agreed. We will be discussing “Revolutionary Road” this week and I can’t wait to hear what others thought about it. It was definitely a book that new for it’s time, detailed the reality of being in a loveless marriage but hoping that everything is going to work out in the end. Let’s just say this doesn’t have a happy ending.


What are you planning to read this month? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

Spring TBR wrap-up: The books I read, didn’t read and read instead

Today is the first day of Summer! I can’t believe it. Maybe it’s the fact that it didn’t really start getting warm here in upstate NY until May but I feel like I barely got a chance to enjoy it. It has been a busy season and when I look back at what I read, I am shocked that I didn’t even read a dozen books between March and June. So it’s no surprise that I barely touched my Spring TBR list. In fact, I only read 2 out of the 10 books that I wanted to. But then again, I ended up reading some books that I didn’t expect to. I was definitely a mood reader during the last few months. So here is a breakdown of what I read from the list, the books I didn’t get to but still expect to and the books I read instead.

What I read


What I didn’t get to


Other books I read instead


What did you read over the Spring? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

TBR for June 2021

Does anyone else feel like 2021 is going much faster than 2020? I can’t believe we are halfway through the year. Though I am not complaining since June is my favorite month of the year. And not because it’s my birthday month either. June is the transition between spring and summer and the weather is finally getting to be consistently warm. I don’t know about all of you but in upstate NY, the weather was bipolar last month, changing seasons by the hour. I am happy that the forecast finally is putting that 40 degree weather behind us.

Things are also returning to normal. Now with masks mandates easing up and the vaccines showing their worth, people are coming out more. This month, my book clubs are going to start in-person meetings again. It’s going to be so nice finally see everyone without a screen. Which means that I have to make sure that I get all my book club reading done on time, lol.

As I mentioned in my reading wrap-up, since my honeymoon, I have been reading books like it’s the last thing I am going to do. And I don’t feel the urge going away any time soon. In fact, looking at my reading list for the month, I think my streak is going to continue. Even so, I didn’t go too crazy with my list, because every time I do I seem to jinx myself.

Book Club Picks

Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier

I started reading this book for my Modern Library Book Club for June and I am loving it. I am only about 70 pages in so I haven’t even gotten to the juicy part of this book but the beginning intrigued me with mysterious memories of the past and the hinting of something dark and sinister that they left behind. DuMaurier’s writing style is very conversational and pulls the reader in. Every time I pick up this book, I get sucked in and don’t want to put it down. I’m actually disappointed when I have to go do other things. I have just reached the part when the new Mrs. DeWinters arrives at Manderley and she is learning that she must contend with how the former Mrs. DeWinters ran things, along with that horrifying Danvers woman. She is already freaking me out and she hasn’t even done anything yet.

Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell

I have never heard of this book before the Capital District Book Club selected it but I am intrigued. It’s a story about the story behind Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. I have always been interested in Shakespeare, though somewhat intimidated by him and have only read the plays that school has assigned, which I am afraid is not many and it has been many years. Maybe this is the push I need to get me interested enough to actually read Shakespeare again, starting with “Hamlet”.

Blonde” by Joyce Carol Oates

I don’t know much about Marilyn Monroe except for that she was a Hollywood star, had a lot of emotional struggles and may or may not have had an affair with JFK. That is it. However, one of my book club members in the smaller group I go to is intrigued by her and chose this book as her pick for the year. This is a fictional retelling of the star’s inner, poetic and spiritual life so I am interested in how the author does it. Also I have never read Joyce Carol Oates though she has always been on my list of authors to read.

Revolutionary Road” by Richard Yates

I never read this book nor saw the movie, though I have heard of it. This is the July pick for the Modern Library Book Club and since our discussions are always the first Wednesday of the month, I try to get ahead in my reading. I did read the summary and I think this is going to be a good one. So far we have been lucky and most of the books have been really good.

Personal picks

Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” by Julia Quinn

I can’t wait to read the fourth book in the Bridgerton series because it has to do with Penelope and Colin. In the Netflix show and in one of the first three books, Penelope is absolutely in love with Colin Bridgerton but Colin is totally blind to her feelings. He just sees her as a friend to his younger sister. I seriously want to know how she finally gets him. Oh and I have no doubt it is going to be a doozy. Also, if the third book’s foreshadowing is correct, I think we may finally find out who Lady Whistledown is.

To Sir Phillip, With Love” by Julia Quinn

Eloise Bridgerton is one of my favorite Bridgerton females. In all of the books, she is fiercely independent and rebels against the societal norms. I loved her from the first time I read about her and I can’t wait to read her story in full.


What are you reading during the month of June? Have you read any of the books on this list? Let’s discuss!

May 2021 reading wrap-up

It’s been a crazy two months and in some ways I am sad to see May wrap up. My husband and I finally had the wedding we have been waiting three years to have.

It’s why I disappeared for the last month and a half. I thought that I had most of the wedding planning done but what I didn’t anticipate was all the drama that comes just weeks before the wedding. And not all the drama was good. At one point I was so depressed I couldn’t even read, let alone write about what I had read. However I am happy to say that despite all this, things worked out for the better and my husband and I had the wedding we had dreamed about and with the people we cared about celebrating with us. Then it was off for a mini honeymoon to the Poconos.

It was during that trip to the Poconos that I finally began to relax, my mind cleared and I began reading again. Voraciously I might add and it hasn’t stopped since I got back. I read nearly as many books in the past two weeks as I do in a month. And as you probably noticed, I began writing on the blog again. So you can say I am officially back.

So here are the books that I have been devouring this month.

So I did get sucked into the Bridgerton series and watched the first season of the Netflix show in a weekend. Then I found out it was a book series and I HAD to read it. I started the Duke and I back in March but due to the drama that unfolded, I never got around to finishing it. I figured it was the perfect book to bring on a honeymoon and I was right. I took advantage of the balcony we had overlooking a pond during a quiet morning and read most of the book in a sitting. And then it just spiraled.

“The Duke and I”, aka Daphne’s story, was in words what Netflix had created visually. I was happy about this. Of course there were some differences as the show does pull in tidbits from the other books to provide some context to the other characters, but overall the book and the show are pretty similar as I explain in my review. I rather enjoyed Daphne and Simon’s story and I was glad that I started the series.

In fact, the following two stories, “The Viscount Who Loved Me” and “An Offer From a Gentleman” are just as enjoyable as we read about Anthony Bridgerton and Benedict Bridgerton and their romances, which I am happy to say are all different. Anthony’s plan is to marry without love just to fullfill his duty as the heir of the Bridgerton property and Benedict ends up meeting a mysterious women at a masquerade that ends up haunting his dreams. Each of these stories I loved differently. As I explain in my review of The Viscount, I loved the love-hate relationship between Anthony and Kate which leads to some comical situations that had me laughing aloud. The opposite was true of An Offer. I didn’t think I was going to even like the story and ended up loving it. It was one of the more emotional of the three and actually brought me to tears, which I explain more here.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to like “The Diviners” by Libba Bray because I am not a huge fantasy reader. This was a book I received through a care package during COVID last year from my book club and was not even on my radar. But then last week, something made me pick it up and I absolutely couldn’t stop reading it. In fact, it is one of the creepiest books I have read in some time. This is also a series and since the book left some things unresolved, I now have to read the others. I am hoping to have a review on this soon because honestly it was that good.

“The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett was the only book club read I managed this month though I was unable to attend the discussion due to the wedding. However my maid of honor is also in the book club and we began to discuss it and all the themes that this book uncovers. And oh how there are so many. I wish that I wrote down all of my feelings after I finished this book so that I could provide a review. This book definitely plays on your emotions. I was sad, angry and happy for all the characters at different points in this book. They definitely felt very real to me and many of the discussions that were occurring I could see happening in real life. There is a reason why this book gets some nods. If you haven’t done so, read it.


What did you read in May? Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think? Let’s discuss!

TBR for March 2021

Over the past week, I debated whether I should do a reading list for March. I am in a funky reading mood and I honestly don’t know what I want to read on any given day. However, I know that if I don’t do this list, I will end up not reading at all or not get to the books that I have to get to. I wouldn’t be surprised at the end of the month, the list of books I actually will be completely different. In any event, here it goes.

Book Club reads

Chain of Title‘ by David Dayen

I started this book two days ago and I am already halfway through it. I thought it was going to be a dense read about the financial industry, and while it does get technical at times, I am finding it really interesting. Basically, it’s about how people who had their homes foreclosed upon, found that there were issues with their mortgage documents and ended up uncovering widespread fraud.

Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod‘ by Gary Paulsen

I honestly can’t wait to read this book because it sounds so interesting. I haven’t read Gary Paulsen since we were assigned “Hatchet” in school. I didn’t realize that Paulsen had a nonfiction book out and the Iditarod has always fascinated me.

Personal reads

Brave New World‘ by Aldous Huxley

I didn’t get to this book last month but I definitely want to get to it. I keep finding references to it and I need to know what people are talking about. This book has been on my shelf for long enough.

The Survivors‘ by Jane Harper

I have a feeling I am going to need an engrossing read on my list this month and I think this is going to be it. I have been wanting to read this since I got it. Just from reading the summary about mistakes that led to devestating consequences I am intrigued.

What’s Mine and Yours‘ by Naima Coster

I just got this book from my March Book of the Month subscription and I can’t wait to read it.

Into the Wild‘ by Jon Krakauer

I am not sure why, but every time I go to read this book I get distracted and want to read something else. It’s one of the reason I didn’t get to it last month. I am going to try again and hopefully I have a little more luck this time.


What are you reading in March? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!

February reading wrap-up

Seriously, how has it been two weeks since I last written anything? And now it’s the end of the month. I can’t believe that spring is right around the corner, though I couldn’t be happier. While I didn’t have to deal with the winter as much as I normally would if I had been commuting regularly to work, I am not sorry to see it go. I welcome the warm weather and can’t wait until I can open my windows to let the fresh air in.

Though I have been MIA in the last two weeks – thanks to work – I have still been getting some reading done. And I have read some really good books.

So I finally got around to reading this book and I must say that it was better than I expected. Micaiah Johnson brings an interesting concept about multi-verse travel. In this particular story there are multiple earths and you as an individual have a doppelganger on each. You can only travel to that earth if your doppelganger is dead. Many of Cara’s doppelgangers are dead which makes her an asset as a traveler to find out what is going on in these parallel worlds. Johnson does a good job of mixing mystery and intrigue into the story. You get backstory by bits and piece and mixed with the presents occurrences, it makes for a quick read. I enjoyed reading this book.

I knew that when I first saw this book, I was going to fall in love with it. And I wasn’t disappointed. I loved reading Adunni’s story and seeing her persevere against all odds – even as she is sold into marriage and then sold into slavery, as she is beaten for nonsensical things and starves because of neglect. While she does get depressed at time (who wouldn’t?!) I felt like Adunni’s fighting spirit always broke through to help her survive. I loved reading her journey to find her louding voice and when she finally finds it. This book made me happy and it broke my heart, made me hope and made me angry. It’s definitely a must read.

So you probably have heard me rave about this book. I read it a few years ago after randomly finding it at the library and absolutely loved it. Basically, instead of a prison system, criminals are chromed based on their crime. Hannah is a red for murder. After being released from prison, Hannah attempts to navigate her new life, being an outsider – her family has all but disowned her, the man who she loved has moved on and she has nowhere to go. As she deals with the harsh reality that the color of her skin has exposed her to, Hannah questions her faith and the life that she once lived. I was scared that when I reread this book I wouldn’t enjoy it as much but if anything it made me love it all the more. There were things that I didn’t notice before and the multiple issues that Jordan raises – separation of church and state, women’s rights, the justice system, faith – seemed to be more poignant this time around than they were upon my first read. I would still recommend this book and I can’t wait to discuss it in book club.

Unfortunately, there were a few books I didn’t get to …

I was really looking forward to reading these but I just didn’t have time. However, I am going to keep them on my list going into the new month. Nightwoods is a book club read so I plan to read that in the next few days.

Books I didn’t finish….

So I got this book from the library but it was only a 14-day loan. Unfortunately I had to return it before I could finish it. From what I did read, Kendall highlights some interesting points about the feminist movement. Particularly about how there are issues beyond equal pay and equal rights. Issues such as gun violence, hunger, poverty and housing are issues that affect everyone but particularly women. She provides data and information about how women are probably more affected by these issues than others, and minority women even more so. And she argues that these are issues that the feminist movement should not ignore.


What did you read this month? Have you read any on this list? Let’s discuss!