2022 Q3 | STOPPED MY SCROLL

Inspired by Elise Blaha Cripe (blog linked here), here are a couple dozen Instagram images that made me stop, pause, and save over the past 3 months

Until next time, Meryn


BUZZWORD READATHON + READING CHALLENGE 2022 – THIRD QUARTER UPDATE

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


2022 TBR // THIRD QUARTER UPDATE

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:

10 | OCTOBER

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

11 | NOVEMBER

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

12 | DECEMBER

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

AUGUST 2022 READING WRAP UP

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.

GENERAL STATS

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

STORYGRAPH STATS
AUGUST READS
SEPTEMBER TBR

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


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 14

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?

Lemon
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


JULY 2022 READING WRAP UP

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

GENERAL STATS

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

STORYGRAPH STATS
JULY READS
AUGUST TBR

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


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 13

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


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 12

My Monticello
Author: Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
Publication Date: October 2021
Genre: short stories, historical fiction
Method: audiobook via TPL

Ugh, it’s hard to rate a collection of stories. This collection starts out this a bang with Control Negro, performed live by LeVar Burton (yes, from Reading Rainbow). It was incredible, so gripping, eerie, and unsettling. The audio experience made for a very chilling and unnerving experience. The tone and intensity reminded me of Black Buck – which was fantastic in it’s entirety. I was nervous going into the collection but was so excited to continue after the first story was such a power house

Unfortunately, the rest of the collection fell flat for me. I found myself speeding through the back half of the book. I think this is just the case of ‘not every book is for every reader’, and that’s okay! I’d be more interested in a full length novel by this author. I think I’m learning that a collection of unrelated stories isn’t for me right now, much like The Office of Historical Corrections

This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work
Author: Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand (Illustrations)
Publication Date: January 2020
Genre: nonfiction, race, young adult
Method: paperback borrowed from TPL

Accessible, beautiful, and informative. I set out to read at least 5 non-fictions text about race, racism, and the work of anti-racism, and it was a nice change of pace to throw in a book targeted towards a younger audience!

Upgrade
Author: Blake Crouch
Publication Date: July 2022
Genre: science fiction, thriller
Method: audiobook via TPL

The more that I’ve sat and reflected on this story, the more I want to open the book back up and reread it! Gene targeting and manipulation – what a fascinating premise and concept. Of the 3 Blake Crouch novels I’ve read, I had the easiest time following this story line specifically given it’s emphasis on genes, biology, and anatomy, versus his prior books centered around time and space. Let me tell you the ear to ear grin I had when the main character Logan references the brachial plexus, cricoid cartilage, rectus femoris, and the flexor pollicis brevis, because as a graduate student who literally dissected a human cadaver, I was squealing

Equally as exciting were the handful of references to our nation’s National Parks and diverse, beautiful landscape, many of which I have the honor of enjoying this time last year on our 3 month National Park road trip. Crouch makes a point to mention in his novel, Glacier National Park had no more glaciers, and the near reality of that is truly heart breaking to me, as it should be for you as well. However, can’t give it a perfect 5 star rating because I didn’t find it that thrilling, and maybe that’s due in part to listening to the audiobook versus reading my physical copy, 4.25 stars

Breathless
Author: Amy McCulloch
Publication Date: May 2022
Genre: thriller, mystery
Method: BOTM hardcover
I was so excited to dive into this after loving, loving, loving the snowy setting of Rock Paper Scissors. And while I was very intrigued for the first few chapters, given I know absolutely nothing about the world of alpine mountaineering, the story telling kind of just fell flat for me. For a thriller set on a literal mountain, I thought there would have been more snow related references. I mean, the main character definitely complained about being cold but I just had a hard time picturing in my mind the sherpas and the various campsites and the equipment, etc etc etc. And maybe that’s on me, like I could have googled Manaslu, Mountain in Nepal, a dozen times by the time I finished the novel, but never felt motivated enough to do just that. And the big reveal was so incredibly obvious to me. I didn’t guess all of the motives and connections that tied into the reveal but I wasn’t by any means shocked. All in all, it was fine, a standard 3 star thriller for me

Wash Day Diaries
Author: Jamila Rowser, Robyn Smith (illustrations)
Publication Date: July 2022
Genre: graphic novel, contemporary
Method: paperback borrowed from TPL

My first graphic novel, yay! And it was so beautiful, both in art and in story telling. I loved the sex positive and body positive messaging, both overt and suggestive. I loved learning about these four women, their friendship, and at the center of the stories, their hair

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


NEW HOUSE, NEW LIFE

Less than 2 weeks until we move into our first home. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of everything I’m excited for, and the idyllic, perfect life I think homeownership will bring

I’m excited to:

→ just listen to and have music playing
[ can’t tell you the last time I’ve listen to The Wombats, The Format, or Young the Giant ]

→ have an overflowing candle collection to burn year round

→ showcase my collection of art

→ more drawing, more writing, more painting

→ display and utilize our cookbook collection

→ organize and style my books

→ create a home bar with thrifted and vintage glassware

→ dive into the art of craft cocktails

→ drink more ice water

→ meal prep and meal plan weekly

→ Soup Sundays
[ aka football Sundays ]

→ hang bird feeders and and bird watch

→ make thoughtful and ecosystem-conscious decisions for garden and landscaping
[ the monarch butterfly is now deemed endangered ]

→ keep a clean and tidy home

→ purge school papers and streamline file folders

→ organize and keep a home binder

→ monthly check ins, personal, financial, house

Until next time, Meryn


BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP – VOLUME 3 ISSUE 11

The House Across the Lake
Author: Riley Sager
Publication Date: June 2022
Genre: thriller, mystery
Method: signed hardcover

Regardless of rating, this book will always have a very special place in my heart. I will read anything and everything Riley Sager writes and I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him during his book tour stop in Cleveland. Riley, thank you for signing all 6 of my books and personalizing my edition of The Mouse Across the Cake, IYKYK

I destroyed this book. I’ve never dog eared so many pages in my life. From reveals, to suspenseful moments, to easter eggs sprinkled throughout refencing his prior novels. While I enjoyed the setting, the characters, the dual timeline, the easter eggs, etc, etc, I just can’t give this a perfect 5 star rating when I was truthfully disappointed by the “banana pants” plot twist. I didn’t hate it by any means, it’s just that I read this (almost exact) plot twist in a thriller in the month prior. I can’t imagine Riley didn’t have this book that shall not be named (for fear of spoiling the entire book) in mind while writing this story

Main character Casey wasn’t my favorite, but I almost never love an unreliable narrator with a drinking problem. Please, Riley, please, I’m begging you, bring back worthwhile heroines with some street smarts, dignity, who aren’t overtly stupid (e.g. my OG queens Maggie and Jules). Riley did hint at recent literary inspiration related to an art heist, which may or may not influence his writing. Fingers crossed we get a quick witted, clever main character in one of his next releases

I did really enjoy the almost historical component with the lake and its legends, very reminiscent of The Last Time I Lied, but I wanted more. Here’s the summary: more history, less drinking, more flashbacks, less drinking, more suspense, less drinking

Definitely not my favorite Riley Sager, but not a flop by any means. I was entertained, shocked, and surprised. I had a good time! It’s a 4 star for me. Would obviously recommend, would obviously continue to read whatever he releases next

Know My Name
Author: Chanel Miller
Publication Date: August 2020
Genre: nonfiction, memoir
Method: audiobook via TPL, annotated paperback

Incredibly powerful and thought provoking. My heart constantly aches when I think about Chanel and her story. I can’t write a review of this book, I don’t have any of the right words inside of me, at least not now. Just know this should be required reading for all

The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publication Date: April 2019
Genre: romance, contemporary
Method: audiobook via TPL

Look, it’s rare I give a romance written by someone other than Emily Henry a 5 star rating, but I did what must be done. I was just so charmed, chuffed to bits, as a Brit might say. Finally, a couple that I loved and cared about both as individual people and as a couple. Even the side characters and secondary plots I found interesting, crazy! O’Leary mentioned in an interview that the inspiration struck when she moved in with her boyfriend when he was working nights and how she felt they were “ships passing in the night” and wondered, “what if you fell in love like that?” That hits close to home when Kyle and I were navigating opposite scheduled 2 or so years ago in our relationship. I’ve got a feeling I’ll be reading more from Beth O’Leary this year, this was just so cute and fun

Rock Paper Scissors
Author: Alice Feeney
Publication Date: September 2021
Genre: thriller, mystery
Method: hardcover borrowed from TPL

Not to be dramatic but I loved this book. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Can’t stop thinking about it. Already texted 2 friends about it, begging them to read it. So glad my first Alice Feeney was such a success and now I’m even more hyped to read her new release next month, Daisy Darker

The intrigue was there from page 1, chapter 1. First off, the setting: a creepy, abandoned, possibly haunted, chapel in the Scottish Highlands, in the middle of winter, yes yes yes. Next, a marital dispute and/or marriage on the rocks. Wasn’t my thing last year, but getting more and more into them this year. Also, so many unanswered questions or leading statements and clues, yes give me more. Additionally, multiple timelines presented in a unique story structure aka letters from one character to another, genius. Also again, jaw drops, many of them

It was everything I needed in the middle of summer, apparently. It was smart, well crafted, misleading, surprising, it hurt my brain at times. Dare I say favorite thriller of the year? Dare I say favorite book of the year?
Buzzword Readathon: July selection

The Layover
Author: Lacie Waldon
Publication Date: June 2021
Genre: romance
Method: audiobook via TPL

Picked this up solely based on the cover and vibes alone and didn’t really have high hopes for it, to be honest. And it was okay at best. I was hoping for a fun, beachy romance but I just didn’t really care for any of the characters, like not a single one. I appreciate a flight attendant romance written from an actual flight attendant, like I don’t doubt the knowledge base or accuracy of this story, it just fell flat. Would I read from this author again? Only if I had the audiobook and an entire day of mindless chores during a summer month

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn