TBRs, Reading Goals, and Why I’m quitting it all.

*waves white flag*

I give up.

I give up, and I’m completely okay with it.

I enjoy feeling like I’m a part of something. I love nerding out with a fandom, or engaging with a niche community that shares a similar interest. I’ll admit that as someone who works and goes to school from home, and who lives with chronic illness, I don’t often feel a part of much. The internet is my savior in that respect. I’ve always had a love for reading, and between blogs, Youtube and Instagram, I’ve been exposed to the massive and crazy world of Book bloggers, Booktube and Bookstagram. Their passion has often left me feeling equal parts inspired and inadequate. It’s what has inspired me to try and reach a higher reading goal and to make monthly TBRs. I thought I wanted to be a bigger part of that community.

Until I realized that I don’t.

Don’t get me wrong. There are great people within the online book world. There are important conversations being had and brilliant books that I’ve discovered through it. But there are negatives too. I find myself frequently feeling pressure to read more and to read faster. I find myself wanting to consume books simply for the sake of consuming it. Read-a-thons and TBR lists aren’t about savoring the books we enjoy, they’re about consumption and reaching impressive reading goals. Sure, some people simply read a lot, and read fast. I’m just not one of them. So I find myself feeling such pressure to try and keep up. I thought that trying to reach specific goals, and attempting to read a certain number of books every month would help me to prioritize reading as self-care, but through this I’ve learned how easy it is to turn something you might have once found enjoyable and therapeutic, into something that feels like a chore, and that is stress-inducing.

I don’t want the book community to destroy my love for reading.

I found that the pressure I put on myself to try and read longer/faster/more, was making me feel guilty for engaging in other things I enjoyed doing – like watching TV. I also found that I would feel like what I was reading wasn’t good enough. There’s a lot of discussion in the book community right now about what kind of content we are reading. While I get it, I found it left me feeling like I shouldn’t even be talking about the books I was reading or wanted to read, because maybe they weren’t valuable?

I can recognize the power and value of the online book community, but I have to say that trying to engage in it, has left me nearly hating an activity I have loved my entire life. When I was little, I was always getting in trouble for reading in the dark. I was heckled and harassed during school because I read during lunch… or on the bus…or during free periods. So I hoped that this online community would help me find cohorts who I could share my love of reading with. But the reality is that there is a dark side to everything. I’m not saying that everyone who participates in this community is bad – not at all! I’m just acknowledging that there are issues.

So I’m done. I want to find my way back to loving reading again. Reading truly for pleasure and fulfillment. Reading for myself. Maybe I’ll share it here, maybe I won’t. But done are the TBR’s and the reading goals. I think its the only way to save this relationship.

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Doctor Who: The Many Lives of Doctor Who – Richard Dinnick – REVIEW

Hey guys – so I know Tina tends to be more of a book-lover on the blog than myself, but one of my goals for this year is to read more as a way to expand my knowledge as well as to give myself and my eyes, some much needed “R&R” away from screens. I intentionally set the bar low on my Goodreads with only 10 books because I know it can be hard during the school semester to read for classes let alone for myself. Plus, I want to get back into the habit of reading more!! I remember when I used to whizz through books during high school so my hope is to return to my former reading glory of satiating several books monthly. Considering I’ve already read four so far this January, I’d say I’m doing well!

The latest book I’ve finished has been the graphic novel Doctor Who: The Many Lives of Doctor Who from Richard Dinnick. I’ve been learning that I enjoy reading graphic novels. I used to read manga and have more recently enjoyed reading the March historical trilogy from Congressman John Lewis and Andrew Aydin and earlier this month, I polished off Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. It really shouldn’t surprise me that I like graphic novels so much, seeing how I loved reading the comics as a kid (I absolutely loved Opus the Penguin).

I’m also quickly becoming a Whovian. I’ve been working my way through watching both the Tenth and Thirteenth Doctor, and my eventual goal is to watch every single Doctor. I’m no where near done, but I have a basic understanding of both the order of the Doctors and some of the creatures from the iconic British science fiction program. Now that I’ve explained that, let’s talk about the book itself!!

The book kicks off right as the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) regenerates. While the regeneration process takes place, The Doctor revisits past incarnations of himself as a means to prepare the latest and current Thirteenth Doctor (played by Jodie Whittaker) to travel through space and time dimensions. While I mentioned before I’m not yet as well-versed in all versions of The Doctor, I think this book was a fun read despite that and it’s not really necessary to have that knowledge to read it. The fourteen different stories from prior versions of The Doctor provided a really enthralling read as they travel through space and time from New York in the 1980s, Northern Italy in 49 B.C.E, and beyond. The stories not only feature the 14 different versions of The Doctor but also incorporates some of the beloved companions, other characters, and creatures like the Daleks and Cybermen throughout the series. The stories also incorporate various established characteristics from the series such as The Doctor’s distaste for pears. Regardless of how much you may or may not know about the series, this book does a good job about making a series of short tales that are captivating without needing extensive knowledge about everything within the Doctor Who series.

The stories in Dinnick’s book would be nothing without the mesmerizing illustrations. The illustrations within are individual masterpieces as each story was done by different illustrators. Like each incarnation of The Doctor, the illustrations have their own discernible creative differences but every illustration is both authentic and gorgeous visual representations in their own way. I think one of my favorites were the illustrations of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor – they’re absolutely adorable and fun and made me want to switch to watching the Fourth Doctor now!

Whether you’re a fan of the longstanding sci-fi series or just looking for an in to the Doctor Who fandom (I’d say that this book is a great way to enter this world, that can honestly feel overwhelming to anyone unfamiliar), this book is a very short read and if you’re anything like me, will leave you wanting more. The book earns a 3.84 rating on Goodreads, but I personally would’ve given a higher rating of 4.5. It is absolutely brilliant and it’s safe to say I want to dive further into Doctor Who graphic novels!!

Goodreads 2019 Reading Challenge + January TBR

Last year I ended up reading 38 books – surpassing my goal of 30 for the year. Despite not reading for long chunks of time (hello, grad school), I feel pleased with my progress and like I have successfully found *some* of my reading mojo again. Reading has always been a huge love of mine, but life and school have often gotten in the way of it over the years. This year, I’m stepping up that goal because I want to really focus on making reading not just something I make time for, but something that I consistently make time for.

I view reading as not just entertainment, or an educational tool, but also as a means of self care – a way of distracting me when perhaps I’m not feeling my best. Whenever I go through a period of time where I don’t pick up a book, I feel off – like some part of my routine is missing or unsatisfied. I can’t promise that I will read (for pleasure anyway) every single day, and I know that when school is back in full swing, there’s likely to be many days where I don’t pick up a book. But my hope is to try and read at least a little bit every single day!

In 2019, my Goodreads goal is to read 50 books.

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Monthly Favorites – August 2018

I realize it’s been a bit dead here on the blog in recent weeks. Classes just started up again for both of us and its been a bit of a transition period as we get into the swing of things again. Don’t worry though, while our posts might be a bit more sporadic, we’re still here! I thought that I’d share my August favorites today, which admittedly might be somewhat sparse as it’s just one of those months where I haven’t got loads to talk about. Let’s just get into it shall we?

Made by Design Duvet – I’ve been looking for a new duvet for a really long time now. I’m picky and duvets can be really expensive! While browsing the isles of Target recently, I saw they had new bedding in and this duvet in particular which, is pretty much exactly what I’ve been looking for. It’s got ties to keep your duvet in place, buttons up to close and has a really nice edge which makes it look like it cost a lot more than it actually did. It’s also just the right color and isn’t microfiber which drives me and my skin mad (I cannot stand the texture)! Oh and did I mention how utterly affordable it was?? Only $30! It seems that this new Made by Design range from Target is going to be a winner.

Floral Accent Lamp – sticking with home decor, I also picked up this lamp for a side table in my room. I’ve got a space that I’ve been working on cozying up into a nice reading space and I needed better lighting. I honestly didn’t expect to find any thing at Target, but I did! I will say though that this lamp looks much better in person than it does on their website. Once the space is done, perhaps I will share it here on the blog. I’ve been looking for throw pillows for the small couch/futon I’ve got and it’s been easier said than done. I found a couple yesterday at Home Goods but I need some more. If you’ve got any suggestions on good shops for pillows, please let me know!

Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour – I’m not gluten free, but I do try to eat as much GF as I can because I have found that my body isn’t the biggest fan of wheat (whole wheat bread and I just DO NOT get along!!). This flour from Bob’s Red Mill is absolutely excellent! I’ve used it plenty of times as a substitute for regular flour and it works really well. I love Bob’s Red Mill in general and haven’t come across anything from them that I don’t like so it’s really no surprise that this is another winner. I also LOVE their Gluten Free pancake mix. I’ve been using it for years, and while I might try other mixes on occasion, I also come back to theirs because it’s consistent and makes super delicious pancakes!

The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan – this was easily my favorite read in a long while. I’ve already written a review so I won’t blab too much about it, but it was just wonderful. I just picked up The Endless Beach from the library and school reading be damned! I will get through this too! I’m currently working my way slowly through a biography of Queen Elizabeth II and really enjoying it. It’s taking me some time to read but my goodness, I have learned so much!! I’m not sure if I will review it here when I’m done or not, if that is something you’d like to see, please let me know!


BBC Sherlock – okay, please don’t judge at how slow I am to get into something – instead, perhaps marvel at my incredible restraint?? Can we view it that way? I mean, I realize I should have been watching Sherlock years ago. My sister has been a huge fan for years and I have no real reason for not watching aside from the fact that sometimes when things are well received and popular, I don’t seem to want to get into them. I honestly didn’t even think I’d enjoy Sherlock. For no good reason either. I’m an anglophile, I like mysteries and crime shows, and I love Elementary, so really, why the hell wouldn’t I like Sherlock?? Well, I LOVE this damn show and I’m so sorry it has taken me this long to watch it (I’m sorry Missy – your nagging was worth it)!! I haven’t quite finished it yet, but I know I’ll be sad when I do.

Lastly, I want to mention the music I’ve been enjoying the most this month. I’ve been listening to Aretha Franklin a lot ❤, and also really loving Whispers from Passenger. I can’t pick a favorite song from either, because it’s all lovely.

Hope everyone had a lovely August. I’m honestly ready for September and fall. Hoping we actually get a proper fall this year. Sometimes it tends to feel like we skip over my favorite season where I live. We’ve got a lot of posts planned for September thanks to the upcoming television season, so stay tuned for that!

The Cafe by the Sea – Jenny Colgan – REVIEW


Lately I’ve been having such a hard time finding my reading “groove”. I read a variety of different genres and sometimes, deciding what I’m in the mood for is easier said than done. I’ve started quite a few books over the past couple of weeks, only to abandon them because they just didn’t feel right. I’ve picked up countless library holds, and then brought them back not fully read. I definitely have favorite genres though, and there’s a certain style of fiction that I find absolutely comforting, which generally speaking, seems to always get me out of a reading rut!

I’m talking the light hearted, vaguely romantic, “chick-lit” type of fiction. Ideally set somewhere in the UK because I’m an unashamed Anglophile who has a serious longing for a place she’s never even been (don’t we all?). I read a lot of different genres and there was admittedly a point in time where I felt ashamed to admit that I enjoyed anything that would classify as chick-lit but really, I think it’s stupid that we should feel any ounce of shame for what we enjoy reading! I’ve come to embrace what I like and I feel much better for it. 🙂 When I find that nothing I try to read is really working for me, a little escapism from reality through chick-lit seems to always do the trick. Thankfully, I picked up The Cafe by the Sea, by Jenny Colgan from the library on Thursday because it has totally turned my reading mood around.

I’ve read one other Jenny Colgan book before (The Book Shop on the Corner), and now I have to say, that I want to read them all! Her writing is so enjoyable and it was so easy to devour this book, just like the last one. I actually had to force myself to go to bed the first night because I wanted to stay up all night reading. Admittedly, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that kind of pull with a book.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Years ago, Flora fled the quiet Scottish island where she grew up — and she hasn’t looked back. What would she have done on Mure? It’s a place where everyone has known her all her life, where no one will let her forget the past. In bright, bustling London, she can be anonymous, ambitious… and hopeleslly in love with her boss.

But when fate brings Flora back to the island, she’s suddenly swept once more into life with her brothers — all strapping, loud and seemingly incapable of basic housework — and her father. Yet even amid the chaos of their reunion, Flora discovers a passion for cooking — and find herself restoring dusty little pink-fronted shop on the harbour: a cafĂ© by the sea.

But with the seasons changing, Flora must come to terms with past mistakes — and work out exactly where her future lies…

There may be spoilers beyond this point!

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84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff – REVIEW


As a lover of books and an anglophile, I was immediately drawn to this book when I first came across it while browsing Book Depository. I ordered it, waited weeks for it to arrive, and then shelved it where it sat forgotten for about a year. The other day I was rummaging through my shelves trying to find something I “put in a safe place”, and met 84 Charing Cross Road again. It’s a teeny little thing so it’s no wonder that it go lost on a bottom shelf. Whoops.

The edition I have is actually two books in one. It includes 84 Charing Cross Road and the sequel The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street. The first is a collection of letters between the author, Helene Hanff of New York City, and a small bookstore in London called Marks & Co. Her correspondence begins when she is in search of a specific book and grows from there. The sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street is in diary format and chronicles Helene’s experience when she finally makes it to London to visit. I honestly didn’t realize that I was getting two books in one when I purchased, I just liked this cover best (one of my favorite parts about ordering from Book Depository is all the lovely covers we don’t get here in The States)!

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Hope Never Dies – Andrew Shaffer – REVIEW

Politics right now in this country are complicated and draining. We don’t dive into it much, but it doesn’t mean we’re not distressed. So when I heard about this book, I felt like it was just what the doctor ordered!


Hope Never Dies, written by New York Times best-selling author Andrew Shaffer was released in early July. As soon as I heard about it on Twitter, I quickly reserved it from our local library (Seriously go support your local libraries, folks!!) Shaffer has also authored parody works including Catsby: A Parody (a feline riff on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Great Gatsby), Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (a parody on Fifty Shades of Grey) in addition to other humor works such as the yuletide-themed It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like F*ck This and the amusingly-titled How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attack.

Published by Quirk Books, Hope Never Dies is about 300 pages worth of mystery intrigue in what seems to be the first in a possible series of Obama/Biden fiction. Classified as a Mystery/Thriller fiction, this book isn’t just your run of the mill Sherlock Holmes-inspired mystery! The premise really says it all:

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted—the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

If you were to combine elements of any Sherlock Holmes mystery, pepper in antics seen in many comedy films such as The Hangover, and of course sprinkle in elements of our beloved political bromance – you’d get this book. Is it cheesy at times? Oh YES! But in these chaotic times isn’t that something we kind of all need?

CAUTION: POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD!!

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