APRIL 2022 READING WRAP UP

Three romances in one month, who is she?? Unfortunately, I didn’t really like any of them – but thanks to St. Martin’s Griffin and Goodreads for my ARC copy of A Brush With Love I won in a Goodreads giveaway! I passed it along to a friend who I think will enjoy it more than I did

The stand out favorite of the month was Memphis, a stunning debut by Tara M. Stringfellow, followed by A Little Hope and The Golden Couple with honorable mention for Big Little Lies

GENERAL STATS

Total: 7 books
Pages: 2,353

Fiction: 7
Nonfiction: 0

Audiobooks: 5
Physical books: 2

Borrowed books: 3
→ Library savings $27.00
Personal collection: 4

2022 TBR: 1
2022 Release: 3
Book of the Month: 2
Buzzword Readathon challenge: 2
Debut Work: 4

STORYGRAPH STATS
APRIL READS
MAY TBR

In May I hope to finish A Million Little Pieces I started in April, hope to read 2 books for the #buzzwordreadathon prompt of directions including Legends of the North Cascades by Jonathan Evison and Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, and in celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I plan to read The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd and Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

Until next time, Meryn


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 7

The Golden Couple
Author: Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Publication Date: March 2022
Genre: thriller
Method: BOTM hardcover

Why did I wait so long to read from Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen?? This was my first read by the author duo and it certainly won’t be my last, I absolutely loved this! I usually don’t like domestic thrillers (so many center around SA/DV) but this grabbed my attention from the very beginning. I love a story with tons of characters, obsession, dual perspective, complex plots, secrets, and relationship drama (that isn’t rooted in violence). I’ve got The Wife Between Us by the author duo on my shelves and definitely need to pick that up soon! Overall, super enjoyable and entertaining, 4.25 stars!

Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Publication Date: February 2017
Genre: fiction, mystery
Method: audiobook via TPL

I knew virtually nothing about this story going into it, other than the wild success of the HBO show. But pleased to report, I loved this! I unashamedly admit, I am easily entertained by stories about rich white moms and their drama. As expected, I love having so many characters to keep track of and especially liked how Moriarty incorporated the secondary characters. The overarching mystery woven throughout the story regarding the ambiguity of the murder victim is so good. I distinctly remember shouting out loud, “I KNOW WHO I HOPE DIED.” Guaranteed star for correct use of the term physiotherapy, because I am unhinged. Solid, 4 star dramatic thriller.
Buzzword Readathon: April selection

A Brush with Love
Author: Mazey Eddings
Publication Date: March 2022
Genre: romance
Method: audiobook via TPL

First, thank you to publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, and Goodreads, as I received an ARC copy in a Goodreads prompted giveaway. It is for that reason I really, really wanted to love this book. I was so hopeful, given that this is a medicine/health based romance, but this ain’t it. The more romances I read, the more I’m realizing I really need to care about and like one, if not both, of the characters in the romantic relationship. I wanted to like Harper, but she was just too type A, and Dan was meh. Also, I gaged at all the sex scenes, but that might just be a me problem. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t for me. I got so desperate to be finished with it that I jacked my audiobook speed all the way to 2x so I could move on to something else.

A Little Hope
Author: Ethan Joella
Publication Date: November 2021
Genre: fiction, contemporary
Method: audiobook via TPL, BOTM hardcover

There’s something about the simplicity of this story that is just so effortless, quiet, and beautiful. A handful of unique and well-crafted characters each with their own story. A story where grief and hope collide. Every vignette felt intentional and purposeful. It felt like with every new chapter I had a new favorite character and peak inside a slice of their life. Don’t be fooled by the word hope in the titled, I was left devastated and in near tears multiple times. This hurts to read, but it is so well worth it.
Buzzword Readathon: April selection

Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: August 2014
Genre: romance
Method: audiobook via TPL

It’s rare that I read an entire book in one day, from title page to epilogue, but in this case, I did. And you’re probably thinking, “wow, she must have really loved that book to have finished it so quickly!” No, sorry. No hate to Colleen Hoover, but it was just fine. Some of my best bookish friends have rated this 5 stars, but this ain’t it for me.

For me to like a romance, I have to care about and like both people in the relationship as individuals AND want them to end up together. I liked Miles character enough, could do without Tate. I was, however, shipping Miles and Rachel HARD. Side note, I do have it in me to like a messy relationship e.g. Luke and Ginger in A Little Hope. Their relationship made up like 20% of the storyline in A Little Hope and it had me crying, it was heart breaking.

This is my first friends with benefits trope which I didn’t really like. The spice was better, more believable and less outlandish, than the previous romance I read (A Brush with Love), so that was okay. Overall, just fine. Fingers crossed I love the next Colleen Hoover I pick up, which likely will be the super hyped and mega popular, It Ends With Us.

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP // 2022 Q1 UPDATE

First quarter down, three to go!

General stats

Fiction: 21
Nonfiction: 9

Audiobooks: 13
Physical books: 17

Borrowed books: 20
→ Library savings $450.84
Personal collection: 10

2022 TBR: 11
2022 Release: 7
Book of the Month: 6
Buzzword Readathon challenge: 9
Debut Work: 8

5 stars: 10
4 stars: 9
3 stars: 5
Not rated: 6

General Goals

☐ 70 books → 30 books
☐ 25,000 pages → 8,137 pages

Genre Goals

☐ 5 books about race/antiracism
What White People Can Do Next by Emma Dabiri
☐ 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)
☐ 2 comedy/humor
☒ 1 poetry collection
Counting Descent by Clint Smith
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

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

Until next time, Meryn


INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY 2022 WISH LIST

The best day of the year is quickly approaching!

2022 TBR

56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard
Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson
In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead
Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

2022 Releases

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
Other People’s Clothes by Calla Henkel
Vladimir by Julia May Jones

Friend Recommendations

Know My Name by Chanel Miller
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

My local Indie bookstore I’ll be supporting is Gathering Volumes in Perrysburg, Ohio!

Until next time, Meryn


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 6

Malibu Rising
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: June 2021
Genre: fiction, historical fiction
Method: audiobook borrowed from TPL

I’ll be honest, I went into this not expecting to love it but was quickly hooked. And spoiler alert, I have a new favorite TJR. Daisy Jones you have been dethroned!

The story opens with four, picture perfect siblings, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit, living an idyllic life in beautiful Malibu, California. As the story unfolds, we learn about the relationship between their parents, June Costas and Mick Riva, and the secrets and traumas that surrounded the family since its origin. As a familial drama, this story had some of my favorite components: the origin story of the focal parents, a blended/unique family set-up, sibling rivalries, broken marriages, familial obligations, and sibling swaps (IYKYK). When one of the Riva kids questions, “Do you even know how many children you have?” that hit way too close to home.

My only compliant, like a lot of other readers, lies in the second half of the story. Once the party is in full swing, we are introduced to dozens of new characters that don’t feel relevant to the story and detract from the storylines of the four Riva kids. I saw a reviewer refer to the second half of the novel as “disjointed” and I completely agree. Despite this critique, what can I say, it’s a 4.5 stars rounded to 5!
Buzzword Readathon: March selection

Ghosts of Harvard
Author: Francesca Serritella
Publication Date: May 2020
Genre: mystery, fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

This is a safe space, so I can admit that I picked this up solely based on cover and title. Happy to report, better than expected! I was pleasantly surprised how easily I was transported right back to college, the struggles of navigating forced friendships with roommates, the desire to impress your professors, and the daunting task of keeping up with the workload. Man, I’m glad to be past that season of life.

There’s something about a brother-sister relationship that I really enjoy reading about, especially when the age difference and birth orders matches that of my relationship with my brother, and this just about spot on. My brother is the old of use two and we went to the same university, but there’s a bigger gap between us than Eric and Cady in this story. The dynamics between siblings and parents gave me major Everything I Never Told You vibes, which is much appreciated.

Overall, I enjoyed the mystery Cady sets off to solve in this story. Detailed and intricate with a well constructed plot and interesting twists. I liked the ghosty elements and the historical context woven throughout. Didn’t know I’d be learning about the atomic bomb but hey, I’m not mad about it. Wasn’t ground breaking, but it was good – 3.75 stars rounded up to 4!
Buzzword Readathon: March selection

Black Cake
Author: Charmaine Wilkerson
Publication Date: February 2022
Genre: historical fiction
Method: BOTM hardcover

If you love a multigenerational, expansive drama, look no further. Black Cake is the story of one woman’s devastating past and heart breaking secrets which she reveals to her estranged children only after her death. Black Cake explores themes of sacrifice, loss, grief, lies, resentment, deep unbreakable love between friends (and lovers), racism, identity, climate change, and sibling conflict.

I loved nearly all the characters (Etta + Patsy 4 eva), the details about Caribbean culture and history, the discussions on sexuality and ocean conservation. For me, one thing that is so fun about reading is when similar themes unexpectedly appear in multiple books. Earlier this month I read Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkin’s Reid, a book heavily focused on surf culture in the 1980s. I was so pleasantly surprised on the emphasis on the history of Caribbean surfing in this novel – I just loved the overlap!

“Question yourself, yes, but don’t doubt yourself. There’s a difference.” Eleanor Bennett

Girls Solve Everything: Stories of Women Entrepreneurs Building a Better World
Author: Catherine Thimmesh, Melissa Sweet (Illustrations)
Publication Date: March 2022
Genre: nonfiction, biography
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

A fun and inspiring book! Glad to have stumbled come across it and learn about women entrepreneurs during Women’s History Month!

The Book of Cold Cases
Author: Simone St. James
Publication Date: March 2022
Genre: mystery, thriller
Method: BOTM hardcover

In short, I loved this. Lord knows I love an old, historic, Victorian house with a mysterious past, supernatural and ghosty elements, a female villain, a dual timeline, I mean I’m in, sign me up. It was nearly perfect. Nearly. See rant below for the mandatory 1 star subtraction. Simone, you almost had me, almost.

Mandatory rant, because I HAVE TO:
Simone St. James did me dirty, AGAIN. She just had to go and tease me and actually use the term “physical therapy” correctly on page 321, a redeemable moment given The Sun Down Motel fiasco last time, to then incorrectly use the term “physio” on page 329. Simone YOU’RE KILLING ME. Who is your editor? Who is letting you get away with using a Australian and/or Canadian term for a story set in Oregon, USA?! I swear to God if I read The Broken Girls and I see the words physio or physiotherapist, I’m sending a hand written letter asking for an explanation and an apology.

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


MARCH 2022 READING WRAP UP

General stats

Total: 9 books
Pages: 3,079

Fiction: 7
Nonfiction: 2

Audiobooks: 4
Physical books: 5

Borrowed books: 6
→ Library savings $155.89
Personal collection: 3

2022 TBR: 5
2022 Release: 4
Book of the Month: 2
Buzzword Readathon challenge: 4
Debut Work: 3

Storygraph Stats
MARCH READS
APRIL TBR

Until next time, Meryn


2022 TBR // FIRST QUARTER UPDATE

A quarter into the year and I’ve read over a third of my 2022 TBR!

Only three months into the year and I’ve read 11 of the books on my 2022 TBR, making my completion percentage 36.67%, not bad if I do say so myself! And even better yet, 7 of those books I rated 5 stars!

If I’m being honest, I don’t think it’s going to take the entire year for me to read all 30 of these books. My guess is by the end of June, my completion percentage will be between 60-70%. I love this TBR project and feel so inspired and excited to read every book on this list!

My predictions for what I’ll have finished by end of Q2:

1 | A Million Little Pieces by James Frey

2 | The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

3 | Book Lovers by Emily Henry

4 | Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

5 | In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead

6 | 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard 

7 | Know My Name by Chanel Miller

What book should I pick up next?

Until next time, Meryn


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

BUZZWORD READATHON + READING CHALLENGE 2022 – FIRST QUARTER UPDATE

JANUARY – who, what, where, when, why, how

How Lucky by Will Leitch
The Girl Who Died by Ragnar Jónasson
What White People Can Do Next: From Allyship to Coalition by Emma Dabiri

FEBRUARY – pronouns or possessions

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman

MARCH – a book with a location in the title

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
Olympus Texas by Stacey Swann
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

APRIL – a book with LITTLE or BIG in the title

A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty 

MAY – a book with a direction in the title

Legends of the North Cascades by Jonathan Evison
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

JUNE – a book with ALL in the title

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

2022 Introduction linked here
Goodreads group linked here

Until next time, Meryn


LIFE LATELY // Q1 2022

Reading
Planning

PT license renewal, monthly family dinners in Defiance, spring break trip to Cincinnati and Mammoth Cave National Park, Kyle’s return to college courses, financial successes

Watching

Completion of NFL 2021-2022 season, Super Bowl LVI where Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 23–20 in Los Angeles, Olympic Games Beijing 2022, NCAA March Madness, Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing

Cooking

Beef stew, cottage pie, frittatas, Dutch babies, BLT salads, tikka masala, chili, shakshuka, chicken pot pie

Eating

Exclusively Whole30 in January

Drinking

Always and forever black iced coffee from Biggby

Creating

Winter Igloo, the occasional book related Reel or Tik Tok, reorganizing my bookshelves, bookstagram pictures

Going

Weekly trivia nights (Blarney, The Casual Pint, Beer Barrel, Home Slice), Twin Oast, Uncle T’s 50th birthday party

Loving

Bamboo ladder plant stand, new plant friends → Frittata the fittonia and Linguini the snake plant from Hoen’s Garden Center, Wordle and it’s spin offs (Waffle, Quordle), winter sunsets, NCLA sage green nail polish

Dreaming

Of my first 6 figure year

Feeling

Thankful for the financial freedom and consistency in my PRN jobs
Excited for the warm weather and sunshine of spring
Lost with plans for our wedding
Nervous for period of transition with another new DOR (second this year)
Suspicious that the pandemic is over

Listening

Audiobooks, And Her Books podcast

Celebrating

Valentine’s Day dinner at Mancy’s Italian Grill, The Ultimate (Taco) Twosday 2/2/22, the occasional 1st and 2nd place trivia win,  the joys of running outside + up to 5 miles

Learning

From exclusively black authors in February, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

Buying

Used books, Glacier National Park Rumpl (REI on sale), Nikon 7500, 2 lens, and tons of accessories from Camera Mall in Ann Arbor, books from Book Depository as Valentine’s Day presents, bird enamel pins from Etsy for Kyle’s new camera bag (Blue Jay and Cardinal), KENDALL + KYLIE jeans from TJ Maxx, Lodge cast iron reversible griddle/grill, collapsible camp kettle, handmade pottery (mug) from MCNP

mantra

You are not the work you do; you are the person you are. Toni Morrison

Until next time, Meryn