Fates and Furies
: Lauren Groff
Publication Date: September 2015
Genre: fiction, contemporary
Method: audiobook via TPL

This book was definitely not on my radar but I asked my best best friend for a book recommendation for my 2022 TBR and she handed me this, so of course I had to read it. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve finished and I’m finding the entire story very forgettable. I remember all of two things, 1. it was beautifully written, that is undeniable, and 2. I couldn’t care less about the commentary on plays and the main character’s career as a playwright. My initial rating after finishing was a 3.75 but I literally can’t justify that now, so I’m reducing it to like a 2.5. This is my life, I make the rules

Things We Do in the Dark
Author: Jennifer Hillier
Publication Date: July 2022
Genre: thriller, mystery
Method: audiobook via TPL

I’ve seen a ton of reviews that say this story was predictable and I’m like really?? Maybe I was too engrossed in the audiobook to speculate and theorize but I had a good time! I thought the story was compelling, captivating, and had me returning to the audiobook so quickly I finished it in less than 3 days. I usually hate hate hate crime fiction that involves gangs/mafia/mob but this felt very well written and researched and it made sense for the story as a whole, in my opinion. I’m excited to read more from Jennifer Hillier – as a matter of fact, I have Little Secrets sitting on my shelf right now, ready to be cracked open when the time is right
Buzzword Readathon: September selection

Once There Were Wolves
Author: Charlotte McConaghy
Publication Date: August 2021
Genre: fiction, mystery, contemporary
Method: audiobook via TPL

I threw this book my on 2022 TBR after 1. being drawn to the beautiful cover and 2. seeing some pretty convincing 5 star reviews. Let’s just say, I have a way of picking winners for my year long TBR challenge because, dare I say, this will be my favorite book I read this year

Rarely do I form emotional attachment to characters, let alone animals in stories, but damn, my devotion to these wolves is ridiculous. McConaghy has crafted an incredibly emotional and haunting story about the humanity and its impact on climate and ecosystems, along with themes of loyalty, revenge, cohabitation, and trauma. I can’t wait to pick up McConaghy’s 2020 release Migrations in 2023

Favorite quote: “There are languages without words and violence is one of them”
Buzzword Readathon: October selection

Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Publication Date: 1945
Genre: classic, fiction, dystopian
Method: paperback borrowed via TPL

For some unknown reason, I set out to read at least 4 classics this year, for culture, or academia, or something. So it’s October and figured it was about time I start working towards that goal, and what better place to start than George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Which, oddly enough, I didn’t read in high school like so many other AP Lit kids. But we did read 1984 which I remember enjoying and plan to re-read in December

First and foremost, how have I looked at this book cover for the better part of 15 years and I’m just now seeing it’s a pig on the cover? That’s embarrassing as a 29 year old. Secondly, this was just fine? As a girlie with little knowledge (or interest) in the Russian Revolution, Joseph Stalin, and communism, it was just okay. Without the internet, or the introduction in the edition I read, I would have had no idea the historical parallels. At best, I’m glad to have finally read it on the off chance the book, story, characters, or author comes up at bar trivia or on Jeopardy!
Buzzword Readathon: October selection

The Haunting of Maddy Clare
Author: Simone St. James
Publication Date: March 2021
Genre: historical fiction, mystery, paranormal
Method: audiobook via TPL

I had to repeatedly remind myself that this wasn’t a Ruth Ware novel. This is, however, Simone St. James’s first novel initially released in 2012, then rereleased with a new cover in 2022, which I gladly picked up considering all of SSJ stories have spooky ghosts vibes, perfect for an October read

At this point, I had read and loved SSJ’s The Sun Down Motel and The Book of Cold Cases, and this just felt different, not in a bad way, but just in a different genre type of way. THOMC is much more historical with an emphasis on romance, compared to her more recent works. It was definitely unnerving and disturbing at times, but didn’t outshine TSDM nor TBOCC. Thank the Lord above the word ‘physiotherapist’ didn’t make an appearance in this story, SSJ didn’t burn me on this one

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


Velvet Was the Night
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Publication Date: August 2021
Genre: historical fiction, noir
Method: audiobook via TPL

Like many other readers who felt meh about this book, I jumped in after loving Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s 2020 release Mexican Gothic, and clearly that was a mistake. I’m shooting myself in the foot for picking this book up based on the author alone because if I would have just read the entire synopsis I would have seen all these red flags (for my personal taste): student radicals and dissidents, politically fraught land, hitmen, government agents, and Russian spies. This was an L on my part, I should have skimmed through reviews rather than slogging through the audiobook. If these red flags are green flags for you, I’m sure it’s great, but these aren’t the themes for me, and that’s okay! Definitely still love Silvia Moreno-Garcia and the stories she crafts!
Buzzword Readathon: August selection

The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World
Author: Matt Kracht
Publication Date: December 2021
Genre: humor nonfiction
Method: paperback borrowed from TPL

As promised, I picked up the sequel to Matt Kracht’s The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America and it was equally as enjoyable and comedic. There’s something so satisfying about reading the most random books I find on Goodreads and the library that makes me feel like a well rounded academic. Am I going to pick up Kracht’s 2023 release, OMFG, BEES!: Bees Are So Amazing and You’re About to Find Out Why?? Obviously, yes. Actually, I’m gonna request it from the library right now

The Nickel Boys
Author: Colson Whitehead
Publication Date: July 2019
Genre: historical fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

A powerful story covering racism, power, Jim Crow laws, and the state of the juvenile justice system, hard but necessary topics to explore. I will admit, I probably need to reread this to really get the full impact of the story (because I flew through the audiobook in just a few sittings), but either way, what an incredible and heart breaking story. Do you ever finish a book, look at the cover, and realize how stupid you truly are? Because that was my experience after understanding the gravity and meaning of the simple but timeless cover
Buzzword Readathon: August selection

The Switch
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publication Date: April 2020
Genre: romance, fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

I saw a review that only said “not nearly as good as The Flatshare” and 1. harsh but direct and 2. I have to agree. But ohmygosh, still so charming. Despite the sweet and wholesome characters, the plot did drag a bit for me and I didn’t find myself dying to jump back into the audiobook. I definitely enjoyed Eileen’s portion more than Leena, which is both surprising to me, but like, not at all, I love old people. Definitely didn’t out shine The Flatshare but cute nonetheless, it’s like a 3.5 stars rounded up to 4, which feels generous

Daisy Darker
Author: Alice Feeney
Publication Date: August 2022
Genre: mystery, thriller
Method: BOTM hardcover

The chokehold Alice Feeney’s 2021 release, Rock Paper Scissors, has on me is unparalleled. I’m not exaggerating when I say I think about that twist in RPS on a weekly basis – I was nothing but bamboozled and gobsmacked. So to say my expectations were extremely high going into Daisy Darker would be an understatement. And it was good, it really was! It just wasn’t as great as RPS

Like other readers, the flashbacks did bore me a bit and I could have done with out them. Actually, remove Daisy completely and it would be perfect. Get rid of the main character? For who the book is named after?? Harsh, I know. Even so, still a good time, still a 4 star thriller. It’s got so many of my favorite themes: prophecy, inheritance scheme, messy family dynamic, secluded gothic house on a coast, plus creepy and sinister poems. Also, didn’t know I was into pissed off grandmas with horrible children, but apparently I am

I leave you with this equation: The Guest List + The Death of Mrs. Westaway = Daisy Darker. I don’t make the rules, it’s just facts
Buzzword Readathon: September selection

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


Three quarters down, one to go!

General stats

Fiction: 58
Nonfiction: 19

Audiobooks: 40
Physical books: 37

Borrowed books: 45
→ Library savings $925.61
Personal collection: 32

2022 TBR: 22
2022 Release: 23
Book of the Month: 16
Buzzword Readathon challenge: 25
Debut Work: 23

5 stars: 17
4 stars: 28
3 stars: 18
2 stars: 1
Not rated: 13

General Goals

☒ 70 books → 77 books
☐ 25,000 pages → 22,437 pages

Genre Goals

☐ 5 books about race/antiracism
What White People Can Do Next by Emma Dabiri
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand (Illustrations)
☐ 4 classics
☒ 3 translated works
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Henning Koch (Translator)
The Girl Who Died by by Ragnar Jónasson, Victoria Cribb (Translator)
Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun, Janet Hong (Translator)
☒ 2 comedy/humor
Eating Salad Drunk: Haikus for the Burnout Age by Comedy Greats by Gabe Henry
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America by Matt Kracht
The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World by Matt Kracht
☒ 1 poetry collection
Counting Descent by Clint Smith
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
And We Rise by Erica Martin

Author Goals

☒ S.A. Cosby
☐ Joan Didion
☒ Alice Feeney
☐ Roxane Gay
☐ Elizabeth Gilbert
☐ Kristin Hannah
☐ Grady Hendrix
☐ Lisa Jewell
☐ Lars Kepler
☐ Audre Lorde
☐ Jennifer McMahon
☒ Liane Moriarty
☐ Toni Morrison
☐ Jo Nesbø
☐ Jodi Picoult
☐ Peter Swanson
☒ Colson Whitehead
☒ Ashley Winstead

Book Review Round Up // 2022 Q2 Update linked here
Book Review Round Up // 2022 Q1 Update linked here

Until next time, Meryn


Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

AUGUST – a book with an item/object in the title

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead
This is a Book by Demetri Martin
Lemon by Kwon Yeo-Sun
Velvet Was the Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

SEPTEMBER – a book with LIGHT or DARK in the title

Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
Things We Do In the Dark by Jennifer Hillier

OCTOBER – a book with an animal or creature in the title

Animal Farm by George Orwell
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

NOVEMBER – a book with “ING” in the title

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

DECEMBER – a book with a number in the title

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
1984 by George Orwell
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (BOTM)

2022 SECOND QUARTER UPDATE linked here
2022 FIRST QUARTER UPDATE linked here
2022 Introduction linked here
Goodreads group linked here

Until next time, Meryn


One quarter left of the year and I only have 8 books left in my 2022 TBR!

One quarter left in the year 2022 and I’ve read 22 of the books on my 2022 TBR, making my completion percentage 78.57%. I’m still on track to finish by the end of the year, yay! Of the 6 I read this quarter, there was one 5 star, three 4 stars, and two 3 stars.

My predictions for what I’ll have finished by end of each month as we wrap up the year:


Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
The Secret History by Donna Tartt


Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson
The Push by Ashley Audrain
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi


56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
Let’s Get Physical by Danielle Friedman
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

What book should I pick up next?

Until next time, Meryn

2022 TBR – SECOND QUARTER UPDATE linked here
2022 TBR – FIRST QUARTER UPDATE linked here
2022 TBR – INTRODUCTION linked here
Goodreads 2022 Bookshelf linked here
READING GOALS + TBR LIST // 2021 linked here
Goodreads 2021 Bookshelf linked here


It’s giving chaotic reader and genre diversity. It’s historical fiction, Greek retellings, campus thriller, book in translation, contemporary fiction, and humor nonfiction about what else but birds. Stand out favorite from the month was The It Girl by Ruth Ware followed by Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead by Emily Austin.


Total: 10 books
Pages: 2,784

Fiction: 9
Nonfiction: 1

Audiobooks: 5
Physical books: 5

Borrowed books: 7
→ Library savings $146.91
Personal collection: 3

2022 TBR: 3
2022 Release: 2
Book of the Month: 1
Buzzword Readathon challenge: 5
Debut Work: 2


In September, my top priority is Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney – really hoping it’s just as amazing as Rock Paper Scissors! For the #buzzwordreadathon prompt of objects, I hope to also read Things We Do In the Dark, Dark Places, and possibly a reread of Home Before Dark. Lastly, hoping to get to Fates and Furies because I said I’d read it in August and that was a bust

Until next time, Meryn


The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Publication Date: August 2012
Genre: historical fiction, fantasy
Method: audiobook via TPL

Look, it pains me that I’m not rating this 5 stars. Mentally, I was ready to cry, I wanted that for me. I was ready and willing. But we just didn’t get there, bestie. It was a solid 5 star up until The Trojan War then it was just a snooze fest, I’m sorry. So incredibly well written and a great story, but it just didn’t deliver to the extreme level of hype. I needed 50% less war and battles and 75% more romance. Like I’m just not convinced in this love story, there were beautiful tender moments but I needed more! Alas, 3.5 stars rounded down

Point Your Face at This: Drawings
Author: Demetri Martin
Publication Date: March 2013
Genre: humor
Method: paperback borrowed from TPL

While I appreciate the comedic genius that is Demetri Martin, I didn’t find this as captivating as This Is a Book. Nevertheless, it was fun and entertaining, another quickie little read! Am I better person having read this? Actually, yes, I’d say so. So, 3.5 stars, idk, it just seems far, okay?

Author: Kwon Yeo-Sun
Publication Date: August 2019
Genre: fiction, mystery
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

Grabbed this from the library in celebration of Women in Translation Month, buuuuuuut I just don’t get it. For such a short book, it took me over a week to muddle through. I was intrigued at times but overall just felt like this was too disjointed, for me. It was ok, according to Goodreads that equates to a 2 star rating
Buzzword Readathon: August selection

The It Girl
Author: Ruth Ware
Publication Date: July 2022
Genre: mystery, thriller
Method: audiobook via TPL

I was nervous going into this because academic/campus thrillers aren’t really my thing but Ruth Ware did not let me down, 5 stars. Thank you thank you thank you. We’ve got a good list of my favorite things going on here: a large cast of characters, a group of college friends, a pregnancy that doesn’t drive the plot, nostalgic Scotland setting, book and bookstore references, 2 jaw dropping twists, and a likable main character, thank goodness. I love you Ruth Ware, but I can only take so many drunk and depressed main characters (I know, it’s not just you). It felt nice to be captivated by a book in that I blasted through the last 5 hours at 2.0 speed, staying up until 2 am because I just had to know what happened. It doesn’t beat out The Death of Mrs. Westaway, but it ranks in the #2 spot for Ruth Ware. 5 down, 2 to go!

Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead
Author: Emily Austin
Publication Date: July 2021
Genre: contemporary fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

Picked this up as I was influenced by Kayla from Books and Lala, because when am I not?? I really tend to dislike (basically hate) the miscommunication trope in romance novels but this entire plot being drive by misunderstanding, miscommunication, and misidentification with our lesbian, atheist main character accidentally working at a Catholic church was brilliant and poignant. I just loved every layer of this book, from Gilda’s family drama, to her train wreck of a ‘relationship’ with Giuseppe, to the mystery surrounding the death of church’s receptionist. The struggles Gilda shares with depression and anxiety felt so real on the page, similar in tone to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove. I’m excited to read more from this author!

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


The variety of my reading within a single month is astounding, and impressive, if I do say so myself: a couple romances, a couple of thrillers, a YA non-fiction about racism, my first ever graphic novel, a book of haiku, and even a humous field guide about birds. Top tier, 5 star favorite is Rock Paper Scissors, my first, and certainly not my last, by Alice Feeney – that reveal had me GASPING. Definitely worth mentioning is The Flatshare, the only romance I’ve rated 5 stars that wasn’t written by Emily Henry. Couple other books I loved were Upgrade and The Paper Palace. Pleasantly surprised by Eating Salad Drunk and The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America, the two wild cards for the month


Total: 11 books
Pages: 2,863

Fiction: 9
Nonfiction: 2

Audiobooks: 5
Physical books: 6

Borrowed books: 8
→ Library savings $148.90
Personal collection: 3

2022 TBR: 1
2022 Release: 3
Book of the Month: 2
Buzzword Readathon challenge: 2
Debut Work: 5


In August I plan to read The It Girl by Ruth Ware because it’s one of my most anticipated releases of the year, fingers crossed it’s a 5 star knock out! For the #buzzwordreadathon prompt of objects, I hope to read In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, The Nickel Boys, and Velvet was the Night. Lastly, hoping to throw in squeeze in The Song of Achilles and Fates and Furies because I said I’d read them in July and that obviously didn’t happen

Until next time, Meryn


Eating Salad Drunk: Haikus for the Burnout Age by Comedy Greats
Author: Gabe Henry
Publication Date: February 2022
Genre: poetry, humor
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

At the end of June, I took a look at the genre related goals and intentions I set for the year of 2022 and realized I hadn’t yet picked up a comedy or humorous book, so this was my first pick to rectify that. I will admit, this was fun! I had quite a few chuckles and some big smiles. Nothing I would ever need to re-read or purchase, but a fun hour of entertainment

“Strangely enough, there seems to be no better poetry for our burnout age than this five-century-old Japanese triplet. Haikus are the world’s shortest poems—snapshots of the world in its smallest distillations—and we are a generation that requires its information short and distilled. (And snapshotted, too, if possible, with a Juno filter please). With platforms like Twitter restricting the space in which we convey and consume our world, and traditional media rushing to meet our ever-shrinking capacity to concentrate, we now expect everything in bite-sized, meme-ified form. Haikus, in their brevity and appeal to the attention-deprived, may just be the poetry for these times.”

The Paper Palace
Author: Miranda Cowley Heller
Publication Date: July 2021
Genre: contemporary, fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

Not very verbose but the only word I can come up with to describe this story is wow. What a powerful and emotional story about one woman’s traumatic adolescence, her lackluster marriage, and her attraction and pole to her childhood sweetheart. Full of lies, secrets, and familial drama, this is story that will both pull at your heart strings and enrage you hopping between past and present story lines. I’d definitely like to read more from this author, fingers crossed she’s working on her next novel
Buzzword Readathon: July selection

The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of North America
Author: Matt Kracht
Publication Date: April 2019
Genre: humor, nonfiction
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

Another short, cutie book I nabbed from the library in an attempt to read more humor and comedic books this year. This was enjoyable, there’s no denying that! Funny, educational, and the haphazard pen drawings are joy inducing. You know what, 4 stars. And I’ve requested his follow up from the library, The Field Guide to Dumb Birds of the Whole Stupid World

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife
Author: Ashley Winstead
Publication Date: August 2021
Genre: thriller, mystery
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

I picked this up in equal parts due to the amazing reviews, general mass appeal, and because Kayla (Books and Lala) slotted this as her favorite thriller of 2021, so obviously I had to read it. I really wanted, and expected, to love this, but I was so underwhelmed, and I very much seem to be in the minority on this one

Other readers and reviewers have used the terms “fast paced” and “couldn’t put it down” to described the story, but that was not my experience at all. Nothing was drawing me back to this story. It just felt so methodical, predictable, and formulaic. On paper I should have liked this: large cast of characters, multiple timelines, and rich girls with rich girl problems. But I just couldn’t get over the main character, so was so annoying. Sometimes that works for me, this time it just did not

Maybe I made a mistake by reading this in the summer versus holding out for the fall. But I don’t know that academic thrillers are really for me. I read The Maidens by Alex Michaelides last year and that fell flat for me too when I expected it to be an automatic 5 star thriller. Despite this flop, I still plan to pick up Ashley Winstead’s 2022 release The Last Housewife!
Buzzword Readathon: August selection

This Is a Book
Author: Demetri Martin
Publication Date: April 2011
Genre: humor, comedy
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

Maybe this is dramatic, but Demetri Martin is a comedic genius, but also, a regular genius. I had a small obsession in 2014 with Demetri and his comedy specials, specifically the bit about his point system for self improvement, IYKYK. So when I realized he’d written an handful of books, I immediately requested them from the library. And this was so enjoyable! This book is exactly what I expected having already loved Demetri’s cerebral and analytical tv comedy bits. I laughed, I smiled, I shared these stories with loved ones, it’s a solid 4 stars!
Buzzword Readathon: August selection

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn