Posted in Challenges

15 Books of Summer 2023!

Hey y’all! I’m super excited that this year I remembered to plan for the 20 Books of Summer challenge hosted by 746 Books *BEFORE* it actually starts on June 1st! Although that said — I probably won’t be reading much for the first few days due to prior plans, but still, at least I’ll know what I’ve got. 😂

The Challenge

The general idea is to choose 10, 15 or 20 books to read and review between June 1 and September 1.

Last year, I chose 15 book prompts instead of specific books, which allowed me some flexibility in what books I actually chose. I’m going to do the same this year because I really enjoyed that and I think it worked out pretty well. I’m still going to stick with 15 even though I’m sure that will end up being low, because this way I don’t build it into something that will pressure and stress me. Reading is FUN! 😁

If you want to join too, you can check out the signup post here at 745 Books or click the image below to get to the same page.

15 Books of Summer

The list

My list of categories and an idea or two for books to fulfill it are below. The book choices may change a bit, but the categories shouldn’t! For my rules on this challenge, I’m also counting books that I DNF as long as I still write a review. The overall goal for me is to clear out shelf space, and if I try a book and don’t like it, that’s an answer too!

  • #1-3: What is this book again? x3 — A book that’s been on my shelves so long I forget what it’s about
    • Inland by Tea Obreeht
    • The Color of Air by Gail Tsukiyama
    • Snow by Orhan Pamuk
  • #4-5: A book I bought and haven’t read x2
    • Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
    • Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yaros
  • #6: An Aardvark Book Club book
    • Liar, Dreamer, Thief by Maria Dong
    • The Perfect Ones by Nicole Hackett
  • #7: A Book of the Month Club book
    • As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfa Katouh
  • #8: A book over 500 pages
    • Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
  • #9: A World of Warcraft book (because I’ve been craving it!)
    • War of the Ancients Archive by Richard A Knaak
  • #10: One of the furthest back added books on my TBR (in 10 oldest, ideally)
    • The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
  • #11: One of the most recently added books on my TBR (at time of writing)
    • Chasing Chaos by Jessica Alexander
  • #12: A book published during this challenge (June 1 – Sep 1)
    • If You Still Recognize Me by Cynthia So
  • #13: A memoir
    • How to Say Babylon by Safiya Sinclair
  • #14: A book by an author I’ve enjoyed before
    • A Trial of Sorcerers by Elise Kova
  • #15: A book I really wanted to read, and yet still haven’t
    • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Yo, I’ll be honest, writing out this list has gotten me super excited for some of these books and now I don’t want to wait until June 1st to start them. It’s entirely possible I’ll just read some of these now and finish them before this challenge even starts. xD Oh well, I have plenty of options!

If you’re signed up for the challenge too, add a link to your post in the comments so I can check out what books you’ve included for ideas of my own! 😊

Posted in Reviews

Review: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen

Recommended: sure
For a first step into an interesting world, for an unlikable main character but an intriguing story, for a trying-to-survive-against-all-odds journey, for a dark tale that pulls no punches


Look how gorgeous this cover is!!!

Ren Monroe has spent four years proving she’s one of the best wizards in her generation. But top marks at Balmerick University will mean nothing if she fails to get recruited into one of the major houses. Enter Theo Brood. If being rich were a sin, he’d already be halfway to hell. After a failed and disastrous party trick, fate has the two of them crossing paths at the public waxway portal the day before holidays—Theo’s punishment is to travel home with the scholarship kids. Which doesn’t sit well with any of them.

A fight breaks out. In the chaos, the portal spell malfunctions. All six students are snatched from the safety of the school’s campus and set down in the middle of nowhere. And one of them is dead on arrival.

If anyone can get them through the punishing wilderness with limited magical reserves it’s Ren. She’s been in survival mode her entire life. But no magic could prepare her for the tangled secrets the rest of the group is harboring, or for what’s following them through the dark woods…


I’m most excited about this book as a gateway to the books that will follow. I didn’t realize it was a series started going into it so I was a bit surprised how much seemed open as I neared the end, but I think I’ll enjoy the next piece of the book even more. It seems like it will follow a similar arc to the Red Rising series, where the first book is actiony and life-or-death in the wilderness and the second book is the threat humans pose, scheming and machinations, and so on. While that actually didn’t work for me with Red Rising, I think it will here.

Continue reading “Review: A Door in the Dark by Scott Reintgen”
Posted in Chatty

April 2023 Wrap Up: I wasn’t here…


How many books that I planned did I read?

Well, it turns out I didn’t do a TBR post for April apparently?? But as I recall I had about 4 books I was loosely planning to continue or start, and of those I finished one, started another (but might abandon it…), and have one listed to begin for a buddy read in May. In total though, I read 12 books somehow.

The Plan:

The Result:

Key for April: Green = finished, yellow = in progress, white = not started

The Magician’s Daughter might end up being a DNF for me. It’s not terrible, it’s just not that interesting to me. It’s not catching me at all. I don’t care at all about any of the characters or what they’re going through, and the magic is kind of interesting but not enough to make up for the rest. I have so many other books I want to read right now that I don’t feel like giving time to a meh one for me. We’ll see if I return to it (about halfway at the moment).

Besides that, as you can see, I went on a bit of a tear there! I read a ton of nonfiction graphic novels after seeing a list of them my library posted with a ton of interesting titles. I’d been considering re-reading Anne Frank’s diary now that I’m an adult, so when I saw there’s a graphic novel adaptation I was a bit nervous but also curious about how they would transfer it to this medium. Her writing is shockingly mature at times for such a young girl, but then again so were her circumstances.

Continue reading “April 2023 Wrap Up: I wasn’t here…”
Posted in Reviews

Review: The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone: A Four-Legged Approach to Enlightenment by Michael J. Chase

The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone: A Four-Legged Approach to Enlightenment by Michael J. Chase

Recommended: yes!
For heartwarming and reflective stories about coping with life via how a dog lives, for an easy introduction to some key elements of Buddhism, for people who like dogs


Is “loving everyone” really possible, as the title of Michael J. Chase’s new book suggests? The answer may surprise you, as he chronicles his journey toward enlightenment, gaining insight from a very unlikely source—a four-legged guru named Mollie, who happens to be the most lovable yet mischievous dog in the world. In his attempt to understand her ability to unconditionally love all, Chase begins to see the world through his best friend’s eyes, especially during their morning walks. Mollie’s hilarious antics and maddening behavior ultimately lead to profound insights learned at the other end of the leash. Written with heart and sidesplitting humor, this one-of-a-kind true story of friendship and a divine albeit outrageous dog delivers on its promise to reveal a pathway toward enlightenment . . . and brings each of us one step closer to loving everyone.


I loved this one! I’ve been reading a lot of animal-based-Buddhism stuff (The Dalai Lama’s Cat for example) but this one is nonfiction which made it feel more believable and immediately relevant in some ways. This is an actual guy in these actual sitatuons and finding his own ways to deal with it.

A dog entered my life for the first time about a year ago, so some of the stories of general dog-ishness that he shares feel a lot more recognizable than they would have been for me before that. I think most people would be able to follow this though, assuming they have some passing familiarity with dogs and what they’re like in general. But if you’ve spent a lot of time with them, you’ll see a lot more familiarity here.

Continue reading “Review: The Radical Practice of Loving Everyone: A Four-Legged Approach to Enlightenment by Michael J. Chase”
Posted in Book Talk

May 2023 TBR: tough topics but still excited!

Hey y’all! I’ve got a plan for this month for what I’m going to read, and I’m really excited about it! I feel like there are a lot of books I have available right now that I’ve been anticipating reading for a while. They cover a bit of a spectrum of genres which I like to get a bit of variety, but that also means there’s not much that ties them together besides “I want to read them.” xD

Outside factors to read these!

As I’ve mentioned probably several times now, I’ve got Addie LaRue finally on my list. I’m giving Schwab this one more chance… and then I’ll just stop bothering. 😅 But in this case, I’m doing a buddy read with Nicole at BookWyrm Knits, so even if I hate the book I’ll have the fun of collaborating with someone else during it. 🙂

Continue reading “May 2023 TBR: tough topics but still excited!”
Posted in Chatty

2022 Year in Review, Part 2: Deep Stats from Storygraph & My Own Tracking

Hey y’all! It’s a third of the way through 2023, so of course that means one thing: I should probably post the rest of my yearly review things from last year. xD I did part one already, which was looking at the wrap up stats given by Storygraph (referenced as SG through this post when I’m feeling lazy) and Goodreads, and had some of the basic things like number of books read, longest book, and so on.

This next batch is looking at the beautiful, amazing graphs that Storygraph hosts for each year, as well as information from my own tracking system that I enjoy looking at (primarily countries books are set in!)

“I’m a mood reader”

I most certainly am a mood reader, but I have managed to find ways to work with my moods and give some structure to my reading with monthly TBRs that are usually about 50% completed with the other 50% books I just decided to read during the month. xD

But what ARE my moods that I’m usually looking for? My top five are below, but note that books can have more than one mood (for example, it could be emotional and sad)

  • 51.7% of my books were emotional
  • 30.3% of my books were lighthearted
  • 29.6% of my books were adventurous
  • 27.5% of my books were funny
  • 24.8% of my books were reflective

This is pretty much the same as most years that I’ve tracked on SG. In fact, since 2019 it’s been that same order with lighthearted and adventurous sometimes switching places by a few books difference. But I’m pretty consistent it seems!

And my least commonly read book moods? Relaxing, inspiring, and challenging.

Continue reading “2022 Year in Review, Part 2: Deep Stats from Storygraph & My Own Tracking”
Posted in Chatty

Spine Poetry: Recent Reads April 2023

Hey y’all! Every now and then (more often “then” than “now”) I feel a bit loose and creative and slide into doing some poetry based on book titles. I’ve done a few of these before, though not for a while. I was reading some old ones and started getting excited to try it again. So here I am!

The selection this time is the last 5 books I finished. In this case, they’re almost all nonfiction, so I’m curious to see if that affects the difficulty in composing a poem or the tone of the result.

A Good Date

a pleasant diary:
we eat, practice adaptation
we talk, approach something
radical enlightenment
graphic four-legged loving

My Internal City of Learning

a pleasant town:
Buddha is life
death: enlightenment
approach loving everyone
practice adaptation
a Tibetan paradise

Continue reading “Spine Poetry: Recent Reads April 2023”
Posted in Chatty

March 2023 Wrap Up: found my energy?!


How many books that I planned did I read?

I planned 4 books in my first TBR, and then added nine more midway through the month in a frenzy. Of the original 4, I finished 3, and of the added nine I finished one, attempted one, and am in progress with one. Kind of all over the place!


The Plan:

The Result:

Alright, I want to address Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik right away, because wow was that book just not able to capture me. I’d been avoiding reading it as I just had that feeling that it wouldn’t quite work despite sounding good on paper and enjoying some of the author’s other work. And I was correct. It jumped around between characters so quickly that I was never able to sink into any of them and was just annoyed to keep changing what I was thinking about. The story itself also just didn’t feel important or compelling to me. I got halfway through, slowly and painfully, and I’m just calling it: not for me.

A surprise winner, however, was A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon! I don’t know a) how I missed hearing about it until a day before it published or b) how I still managed to be first on the waitlist for the library copy or c) why there’s so much witch-based romance novels in the last few years. However, it was extremely fun and spicy and I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. It reminded me a ton of the webcomic Brimstone and Roses that I loved, so it was great to have a novel of that, essentially. ^.^

Since there are so many here let me briefly summarize my thoughts on them:

👍 – sure / woo

  • The Karma Map
  • The Prince and the Dressmaker
  • Her Good Side
  • Good Talk
  • The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi
  • Teen Titans: Robin
  • Vampire Academy
  • Seven Percent of Ro Devereux
  • A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon
  • The Art of Purring
  • Cat’s Café (#1)
  • One Cup at a Time (Cat’s Café #2)

👎 – meh / boo

  • Darling Girl
  • Have I Told You This Already?
  • Sorry, Bro
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
  • Everyone Hates Kelsie Miller
  • Twelve Hours in Manhattan
  • Chloe and the Kaishao Boys

Review posted this month:


  • My reading was 16% nonfiction this month
  • My top genres were romance (7), young adult (6), and fantasy (5)!!
  • I mostly read books that were lighthearted, funny, or emotional
  • My average rating was 3.11
  • I traveled to England, India, and Philippines. In the United States I went to California (twice!), New York (twice!), Georgia, Pennsylvania, Montana, and Colorado.
Continue reading “March 2023 Wrap Up: found my energy?!”
Posted in Challenges

Kindle Spring 2023 Reading Challenge Guide (11 badges unlocked update)

Hey y’all! With the start of spring comes the end of the Kindle New Year Kindle Challenge! You can see all the achievements and badges for that here, and start preparing to move on to the new challenge: the Spring challenge! This new challenge runs from April 1, 2023 to June 31, 2023 with 15 possible achievements.

Below is a guide to the Kindle Spring Challenge for 2023. It’s following the same format as the previous challenges (you can see an FAQ here including links to past and current challenges). Prior to the reveal of the criteria for each mystery badge, the hint will be shown below. As the mystery achievements are revealed, I’ll update this page to show the criteria for each, and then the badge itself once the challenge is completed!

Kindle Spring Reading Challenge Achievements

This one runs from April 1 to June 31, 2023. There are 15 possible achievements.

Days Read

  • Bronze Reader: read on any 15 days during the challenge
  • Silver Reader: read on any 40 days during the challenge
  • Gold Reader: read on any 75 days during the challenge

Books Completed

  • Bookish: read one book
  • Bookworm: read two books
  • Bibliophile: read three books


  • Head Start: read one day
  • Perfect Week: read 7 days in a row (Sunday through Saturday)
  • Perfect Month: read every day for a calendar month (ex. every day in April)


  • Overachiever: Unlock this achievement when you complete 8 books between now and June 30. This would place you in the top 25% of readers!
  • Voyager: Unlock this achievement when you read on World Book Day, April 23
  • Escapist: Unlock this achievement when you complete one of our can’t-miss picks for Sci-Fi and Fantasy (list here and linked in badge achievement)
  • Page to Screen: Unlock this achievement when you complete a book from our literary adaptation collection. (list here and linked in the badge achievement)
  • Hint 6/1: Best way to spend a weekend
  • Hint 6/15: Viral reads
Continue reading “Kindle Spring 2023 Reading Challenge Guide (11 badges unlocked update)”
Posted in Chatty

In progress with SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Current progress: 222/469 (47%)

Why did I start reading it?

I read her Temeraire series years ago and loved it! Admittedly, I wasn’t actually that excited to read this one because I had a feeling it wouldn’t totally hit right for me, but I had a Book of the Month credit to use or lose, so I got a copy of this book to try.

How is it going?

Alas… my initial impression was correct so far and I’m reaaaally struggling through this one right now. Right as I settle in with each character, I get dragged to a different one and totally lose the plot. I don’t care about any of them enough because I keep getting interrupted! It’s very annoying and 100% preventing me from sinking into it.