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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February 2019 TBR + January Recap

This is big. I think this might be the ONLY time ever, where I’ve been able to say the following: I READ MY ENTIRE TBR!!! Okay, so it was only four books – small fish for most of you out there, but I was trying to stay somewhere between aggressive and realistic when I put my January TBR together, and I did it! I read all four books and then some!

In this post, I said that my goal was to read 50 books in 2019. I also shared the four books that I hoped to read in January. I made it through all of them, plus some others that I picked up from the library. My local library is a rather small one, but I love that our county system allows you to request books (or other materials) from any library and have them sent to the library of your choosing. It’s $0.25 to have a book sent from anywhere in the county, to the library five minutes from my house. You can’t beat that! In an effort to be more frugal this year, I’ve been trying to utilize my library a bit more (I’m also no longer buying books on Amazon…or really, much of anything, but that’s a whole different story)! I’ve never had anything against the library, I just also love collecting books, so sometimes I need to curb my book buying a bit. 😉

In total, I read EIGHT books in January.

Here’s what I read:

  • Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
  • My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
  • I’ll Be There For You – The One About Friends by Kelsey Miller
  • #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
  • If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery (#2) by Jenny Colgan
  • Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery (#3) by Jenny Colgan

You can see my ratings for everything I read over on my Goodreads page (feel free to friend me over there!), but I think my favorite book this past month was Little Beach Street Bakery (the first over the two that follow in the series). I’ve learned in the past year or so, that I really enjoy chick lit – especially when set in England/UK/Europe. I’m realizing that there’s perhaps a bit of an escapism theme in the entertainment I’ve been enjoying, especially in recent years. With such a messy reality, who can really blame me?

Grad school started up again at the very end of the month, and I have to admit that I haven’t opened a book for pleasure in a few days, but I’m still trying to be hopeful that I can continue making time for personal reading goals despite everything else. I’m keeping it simple again this month with a four book TBR, but I’ve also got some holds from the library that I’m in queue for, so we’ll see what happens there (I’m number 33 in line for one particular book!).

February 2019 TBR

  • Betty White In person by Betty White
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • Perfect Timing by Jill Mansell
  • The Many Lives of Doctor Who by Richard Dinnick

Every book on this list is from my own personal collection, and has been sitting on my shelves for a bit, except for the Agatha Christie. I’ve always wanted to read her books and when I came across a whole bunch at the thrift store recently I picked them up for super cheap figuring it was worth the risk since it’d be cheaper than one single book new!

The Doctor Who book is a graphic novel / comic and Missy recently reviewed it if you’re interested. I figured it was perfect for my TBR this month since I was looking for light and simple to try and keep my reading momentum going!

I’d love to know what is on your TBR this month, and what you’ve loved reading in January! Lets talk about it in the comments! Of course, if you’ve ever got suggestions for me, I’m all ears!

Happy Reading!

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!

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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A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas – REVIEW


I know, this book came out months ago – so to some it might seem unnecessary to review it. However, I don’t always get to books right when they come out. There’s just not enough time for me to do that with all the books that I find myself interested in. Further, I just started this series last month – from the beginning. Since I’m now here reviewing A Court of Frost and Starlight – the fourth installment in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, I suppose its safe to say that I’ve enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the benefit of reading a series well after its come out (and received loads of hype and fans…), is that you can immediately proceed to the next book. Like binge watching a series. Only now it means that I have to wait like everyone else for the next installment… boo, hiss.

It also feels somewhat odd to review the fourth part of a series, having not shared my thoughts on the first three, but I still felt compelled to do it. I’ve been meaning to start incorporating more book reviews, and I didn’t feel like waiting until I was done with this series. That just felt silly. The first book pulled me in and opened my eyes enough to have me immediately seeking out the second. The second filled me with so many feelings – anger, intrigue, fear, … to name a few. The third book absolutely wrecked me at so many moments, but in a bizarrely rewarding way. I feel like that sounds awfully weird, but I can’t think of a better way of putting it?? I picked up the fourth book yesterday from the library and made reading it a priority.

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Sunday Seven – June 17, 2018

It’s been a minute since I’ve done the first Sunday Seven of the series, and I felt like perhaps it was time to share another. I feel like I’ve got a lot to talk about which is the point of this series – generally, it’s all the stuff I don’t feel merits its own individual post, but which I want to talk about nonetheless. 🙂

Alternative Buffalo – I’ll start this off with radio. Ever since I cancelled the Sirius subscription for my car, I’ve been listening to the radio a lot more. My favorite station, is and always will be the Canadian Edge (102.5 out of Toronto). Since I live in WNY, I’m lucky in that I can catch their signal (usually – I WISH I could listen in my house too). They play a perfect blend of new and older tunes and their on-air personalities are just great. However, since the station doesn’t always come in so clear, I’ve also been listening to Alternative Buffalo which is a decent second choice. My biggest complaint is that they don’t play enough older alternative (I’m mainly talking 90s and early 2000s). But either way, I’ve actually really been enjoying listening to the radio again – honestly, it’s the first time in a long while that I’ve done so and it’s a good way for me to actually discover some new music!

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