Reading Challenge Update

I really buckled down on my challenges in November, so I’m excited to take a look at my progress.

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

November’s theme was seasons, elements, and weather. Specifically, the instruction was to “embrace a winter wonderland setting, pick a beach read, or read about a natural disaster. As long as a season, element, or the weather plays a key role in the story or is part of the title, it counts.” I really had no idea where I was going with this one, but it turned out that the first book I read in November was set on the water! I also ended up reading a couple more books that I think should count.

December’s theme is last chance. I’ve been meaning to read The Bride Test ever since it was announced and my library hold finally came in, so I’m currently working my way through that one.

I finished a total of 26 books in November, bringing me to a total of 158 books this year.

Popsugar hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find out more information on their website.

I crossed off a ton of prompts in November. I think I only have two left!

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

Hoopla really came in handy for me in November. I might not have enjoyed a lot of what I read (or, probably better said, attempted), but I crossed off a bunch of prompts.

This challenge is still on hold, probably indefinitely. But I did finish Roommates, which I got over a year ago, and We’ll Fly Away, which I had DNFed over the summer.

How are you doing on your reading challenges? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let’s talk in the comments!

Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

  • nothing other than library books!

2 things this week:

  • Let’s see… I survived Wisconsin. I thought I’d get stuck in a blizzard, but the snow held off until I was back home.
  • I got to spend like a day and a half doing something that’s way easier than my actual job, so that was a nice change. Next week we’re spending a few hours at a company Christmas lunch, too, so basically I’m just getting paid to have fun these days.

Song of the week:

Recently I’ve just been throwing old CDs in my car’s CD player and seeing what happens. I was treated to some Bright Eyes on Thursday and some hellogoodbye yesterday.

How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: The Backstagers 2018 Halloween Intermission #1 by James Tynion IV

The Backstagers 2018 Halloween Intermission #1 by James Tynion IV
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 24, 2018
Source: Borrowed

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting SPOOKIER, the Backstagers are back for the Halloween season with all-new tales of terrors and creepy creatures. When Sasha accidentally falls asleep backstage, he ends up locked in the theater overnight! What lurks in the shadows, what terrors will he discover, and what the heck are the stage managers chanting?

From writers James Tynion IV (Detective Comics, The Woods) and Sam Johns (The Backstagers: Valentines Intermission), and artist Rian Sygh (Adventure Time Fionna and Cake Card Wars, Regular Show), this haunted oversized one-act is a night at the theater you won’t want to miss!

With back-up stories from artists Shan Murphy, Abby Howard, and Savanna Ganucheau this spine-tingling tale of the stage will leave you with goosebumps you can see from the back row!

I really enjoy the world of The Backstagers, so I was excited to find this little intermission on Hoopla! This is a single issue set in the magical Backstagers world over Halloween.

I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this one. Of all the characters, Sasha really isn’t one of my favorites, so I was a little apprehensive about this story that primarily features him. I didn’t need to worry, though, because this was super cute. I may even love Sasha now.

I really liked that we got to see more of the stage managers and I wouldn’t mind getting to know them even better. I also really liked the positive message in this issue! I said it already but I’m going to say it again — this was just so cute.

I haven’t checked out the Valentine’s intermission yet, but I really think I should.

#mm19: tricks and trades

Have you read The Backstagers? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Monthly Favorites: November 2019

Better late (in the day) than never, here are the best books I read in November!

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Goodreads | my review will be posted soon!

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Goodreads | my review will be posted soon!

Bad Blood by John Carreyrou
Goodreads | my review will be posted soon!

Have you read any of these books? What was the best book you read in November? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Page Count: November 2019

Once again, WWW Wednesday is on hold, this time because I was so busy with traveling that I forgot to post this on December 1. So, finally, here is November’s page count. You could say that I went a little crazy with the audiobooks in November, but you know… I enjoyed myself.

320 pages (🎧)368 pages (🎧)304 pages (🎧)288 pages (🎧)
288 pages (🎧)336 pages (🎧)408 pages (🎧)127 pages
400 pages (🎧)339 pages (🎧)153 pages (🎧)438 pages (🎧)
241 pages (🎧)295 pages (🎧)136 pages343 pages (🎧)
272 pages (🎧)172 pages348 pages (🎧)52 of 87 pages
377 pages (🎧)398 pages (🎧)50 of 312 pages76 of 305 pages
144 pages301 pages (🎧)400 pages (🎧)400 pages (🎧)


24 pages (🎧)27 pages (🎧)18 pages (🎧)

Total pages: 7,974
Total books: 26 full + 2 partial + 3 DNFs
Average rating: 3.5 stars

How did November go for you? Did you read as much as you hoped?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday reads

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is holiday reads, or books you like to read during the holidays. I don’t do re-reads, so I don’t really have anything I typically read during the holidays. Instead, here are ten books I’m planning to read over the holidays this year!

All the F*cking Mistakes by Gigi Engle

I’m actually really excited about this one! I’m planning to read it on and off while traveling this holiday season.

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

I really want to get caught up on my ARCs over the holidays. I love Christina Lauren and I really don’t know why I haven’t read this one yet!

The Last Hope by Krista & Becca Ritchie

I was really excited about this series, but then I read a different book by Krista & Becca that I really did not like, so I’m less excited. It’s been a few months since this one came out, though, so I need to just read it.

Who Put This Song On? by Morgan Parker

This book sounds really good, but it just keeps getting pushed to the bottom of my TBR. This is another ARC that’s very much past due.

Every Reason We Shouldn’t by Sara Fujimura

This is the last ARC on my list. With this one, I’ll be totally caught up! I don’t feel so bad about taking forever to read this one since it doesn’t release until next spring.

The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

I’m really excited to find out what happens next in this story! I wasn’t 100% convinced by the first book in this series until the ending, and I’ve been waiting ever since for this book to come out.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

I have heard so many great things about this book! It sounds like it’ll be exactly the kind of book I love.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

I’ve been looking forward to this book since I first heard about it! I’ve had a hold on it at my library forever and supposedly it’ll only be about three more weeks.

Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Another book I’ve heard really great things about is Fix Her Up! It’s been a really long time since I read a great romance, so I’m kind of just planning to read everything I’ve heard good things about.

Talk to Me by Clare James

I think this is going to be the next buddy read I do with my boyfriend! It’ll also count for one of my reading challenges.

Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! What are you planning to read this holiday season? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper

My Squirrel Days by Ellie Kemper
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 9, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Meet Ellie, the best-intentioned redhead next door. You’ll laugh right alongside her as she shares tales of her childhood in St. Louis, whether directing and also starring in her family holiday pageant, washing her dad’s car with a Brillo pad, failing to become friends with a plump squirrel in her backyard, eating her feelings while watching PG-13 movies, or becoming a “sports monster” who ends up warming the bench of her Division 1 field hockey team in college.

You’ll learn how she found her comedic calling in the world of improv, became a wife, mother and New Yorker, and landed the role of a bridesmaid (while simultaneously being a bridesmaid) in Bridesmaids. You’ll get to know and love the comic, upbeat, perpetually polite actress playing Erin Hannon on The Office, and the exuberant, pink-pants-wearing star of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

If you’ve ever been curious about what happens behind the scenes of your favorite shows, what it really takes to be a soul cycle “warrior,” how to recover if you accidentally fall on Doris Kearns Goodwin or tell Tina Fey on meeting her for the first time that she has “great hair—really strong and thick,” this is your chance to find out. But it’s also a laugh-out-loud primer on how to keep a positive outlook in a world gone mad and how not to give up on your dreams. Ellie “dives fully into each role—as actor, comedian, writer, and also wife and new mom—with an electric dedication, by which one learns to reframe the picture, and if not exactly become a glass-half-full sort of person, at least become able to appreciate them” (

I’m a big fan of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (I actually dressed up as Kimmy for Halloween), so I was curious about Ellie Kemper’s memoir as soon as I saw it in my library. And, after reading it, I really like her. She comes across as a really down-to-earth, genuinely nice person who hasn’t been corrupted by having a super popular show on Netflix.

But being a really down-to-earth, genuinely nice person doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting memoir. Now, don’t get me wrong, Ellie is funny. The way that she tells the stories of what’s happened to her over the years is hilarious. She can take a normal day and make it funny, and that’s great.

But does it need a whole book? I’m not so sure.

On the one hand, I was happy to read a memoir that didn’t involve anything dark. Like, literally anything at all. Ellie projects a very upbeat, sunny personality in everything that she does, and her book is no different. The parts of her life that she’s chosen to share in this book are just as cute and quirky as you might expect. But, on the other hand, reading one cute, quirky story after another gets a little tedious. Can anyone’s life really be that perfect?

Overall, My Squirrel Days is well-written, it’s a refreshingly positive memoir, and it’s very, very reminiscent of Kimmy Schmidt. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but everything was so happy and so quirky and so perfect that I don’t think it’ll leave a lasting impression on me.

I’d recommend this if you’re a big Ellie Kemper fan, but if you’re not? You can probably skip this one.

Have you read My Squirrel Days? Do you like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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