MJ’s 2022 Bullet Journal Update #2

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            When I said that I wanted to live in a fantasy world I didn’t mean a dystopian one. That’s where I am going to leave that, right here at the top and let people decipher my meaning. 

            I’ve been struggling with doing my Bullet Journal this year, I think that the theme is what is making it challenging. I love Marvel, it’s my favorite, but it’s hard to theme everything to one character per month for me. Some people probably do it super well, I am clearly not one of them. I have my theme for 2023 already, but not 2024 I might go back to simple theming in 2024. I don’t know yet though, I am not there. 

            Alright so April, May, and June. I am still working on July; it’s just getting it colored because I have to do that. I am trying, but I am struggling. I haven’t started August yet and I might change the theming for August, I don’t really know yet. I am not feeling the theme that I had planned originally because I am not sure how I could make it work. So I might completely overhaul August. 

April: Deadpool

Cover: Who doesn’t love Deadpool? I went simple, I feel like I am going simpler on my covers this year and that’s totally okay with me. I went all out last year and the year before and it was so much. I loved doing my really complex covers, but this year I just haven’t had the time or the want to really go all out with them. I am working on it, I am looking and saying “what can I do for this character that represents something that I can do to the ability of my artistic prowess?” 

Mood Tracker: Unicorns, because of course. I love stained glass and I have been really using that this year because it is something that I can do. It’s Deadpool though and a unicorn stained glass window makes sense. It makes so much sense. April was a rough month for me at the end so there are some days that were not great for me. I had some betrayal in my life in late April so it was a rough go there for a while. 

Last Page: You want to know where I stopped enjoying doing my Bullet Journal this year? Here, you can tell by this page, I loved the idea, but I never really finished it. 

May: Iron Man

Cover: Iron Man is my favorite Marvel character, there is no lie there, he’s a lot. I loved Dum-E because that’s one of the funniest things in the film franchise. It took me a lot longer than I would like to admit to do this cover because it took me weeks to actually finish. It was fun to do though and I like the robot. 

Mood Tracker: This scene in this film broke me, it broke me. I went with the snap and shards like the world was breaking apart, I had fun with this page. I really did, but I think this was the last page that I have actually had a lot of fun with. Sometimes life hits you and doesn’t let up, so here we are.

Last Page: Proof that Tony Stark has a heart, it was a fun thing from the movies that went from the first Iron Man to the close of the Infinity Saga. It got very sad, but again, here we are. I didn’t finish the background on this page either, but that’s where I am in life at the moment, it got done it was a lot of coloring and sketching so I just let it as is.

June: Spiderman

Cover: Ignore Spiderman in the center, I can’t draw people. We know this, we have known this for years. I wanted the cityscape and the webs so I rolled with it. It was a lot of coloring and stuff and it’s like my June cover last year a lot of lines. So many lines. 

Mood Tracker: It’s a spider web, because duh, what else would I do for Spiderman? I regret some of my color choices because they are so close together, but other than that, it’s fine. 

Last Page: I loved that scene in Civil War so I had to put it in where Spidey steals Cap’s shield, it’s a great scene and I wanted it in my Bullet Journal. My July theme is Captain America so you are going to be seeing a lot of the shield in the next post. 

            Well, that’s it for this one. I am hoping to find my joy again with my Bullet Journal because it’s a fun and such an important thing in my life. I enjoy working on it and I know that it helps me keep my life organized, but right now things are just so sucky and I hate it. If you want to check out the first three months of the year that is a thing that you can do because by now y’all know I love to link past posts.

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then…I want to say stay safe, happy, and healthy, but we all know that there are people working against that. So for now I want everyone just to stay safe out there. 

            -MJ 

MJ’s 2022 Book Bullet Journal Update#2: March and April

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Well, I am all the way on book 43, it’s insane. I hadn’t even read 43 by August last year. I also bought like a billion books in April because I hit the big sad for a few weeks. Let’s just say that having feelings are dumb and no one should have to deal with them. 

            In March I read like nine books and in April I read ten, two were Accelerated Reader books for school so I didn’t count them in my Bullet Journal, well at least not in all the places I count the other books I am reading that I own and have on my TBR.

            It’s really soggy outside today as I am writing this and it’s also state testing week and that means that we are all busy all the time. 

            So, this pretty much like January and February, just with new months, I know that’s such a revolutionary idea, but that’s about where I am today. Believe me, as I am sitting here my brain is trying to conceptualize a writing journal, which seems like too many journals. Way too many journals, because I have for sure already started my 2023 Book Bullet Journal, I had the time and wanted to avoid other things so here we are. 

            March, I for sure had some days where I didn’t read because we were on vacation for Spring Break and trying to read 100 pages a day in that situation is difficult, I want to read 100 pages minimum every day; some days are much more successful than others. There are also some days where I read a whole book, so here we are. 

            I considered making BookTok content, but that’s still something that scares me, that’s 100% not what this post is about though! 

March: 

Cover: I love lavender, and the quote is from The Love Hypothesis so it’s a super cute cover that I really enjoyed. Several of my covers this year are more nature themed and I probably will continue that into next year. Again, I went for simple, and it will remain that way.

Books Read: Shorter list than February because I took some time off this month reading, I was on vacation, it was a lot of driving, we went through seven states to and back in something like nine days. It was insane and did effect how many books I read.

Thoughts and Insights: This is very similar to how I write my book blog posts to be honest, it’s quick takes though, small little bullet points that say whether or not I actually enjoyed the books I was reading or not. Some of them were weird this month. Just my comments, because I don’t censor in my Book BuJo, A Court of Mist and Fury was amazing but it broke me. 

Stats: I love a good condensed statistics page and man do I love tracking stuff! It really does put into perspective though how much I read per month. 

Recap: I chose new colors and I like these ones better, so I will be sticking with them the rest of the year, provided that my markers hold out. I read more paper back than hard cover, I rated lots of books in the 4-star range, and I read like a lot of fantasy. 

Monthly Book Stack: Still going for the larger books, I accidently put the wrong name, I got a little ahead of myself when it came to the second book in the ACOTAR series because I’m dumb. 

The page between March and April is a book playlist, I have one song and that’s it. I need more but I wrote that one in here last December when I was reading Kingdom of The Wicked and Kingdom of the Cursed (I have preordered the third one because I have a problem!) 

April: 

Cover: Birthday month and I went with bubbles; I think that this one could have been executed better but the A Court of Mist and Fury quote was amazing and I needed it in here. 

Books Read: 10 this month including one for Battle of the Books at school. It takes ten books to fill up one column, at least this month. That is my one problem with this journal and why I switched to an Artist’s Loft for next year, the dots on this one change from month to month so spacing is weird. 

Thoughts: I had a lot of thoughts about the books I read this month, including two where I thought that they were going to get thrown across my office, I had a fear of a trope that is for sure a giant ick in my life. I was glad that I was wrong both times. 

Monthly Stats: I bought a lot of books, don’t judge me. I also didn’t read a 5-star book this month and that’s the first time that’s happened this year. I like having five-star books, but here we are with just an okay reading month. 

Recap: Likes of 4-star reads, a few 3-star reads (you can see my rating system if you want to, I did a whole post about it because of TikTok earlier in the year.) I read more hardcover than paperback, which for me is a little odd, but here we are. 

Book Stack: I want to see these stacks hit the top of the page, this one got closer than last month. I really should color them in, but maybe that’s something that I do next year. I don’t know, I don’t want to have it be too complicated.

The page between April and May is my Best Book of the Year Bracket, next year it’s two pages because I needed that in my life, the formatting on this one for me is a little weird, I am enjoying filling it in though. 

            Well, there you have it, my March and April Book Bullet Journal update. I like writing about my Bullet Journals, it’s fun for me even if it doesn’t matter to anyone else. 

            I will be back later in the week with another post, but until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

April Book of the Month Review:

Title: Kaikeyi

Author: Vaishnavi Patel

Hey hey, it’s MJ.

            Well, here we are with the fourth installment of this series for the year. I love a good retelling, I read a few last year because of Book of the Month and I enjoyed them. This one for me was good, not my favorite, but good. 

            I don’t know the myth; I am ignorant to it, which is my own shortcoming, not a shortcoming of the book itself. I am rating this one 3.5/5 which is not a bad score in my book. 

            I got through this book rather quickly and it was well written, it kept me engaged but there were parts where I was either confused or disinterested because of my own personal failings. It was a good book; it was interesting and it does make me want to learn more. 

            We are not as exposed to cultures unlike our own when we are growing up. We should be, because I think knowing the original myth before I started this book, or at least giving myself the context would have made it much more interesting to me.

            It kept me engaged from about page 15 or so and it was not hard to read, the pronunciations are in the front of the book which was super-duper helpful! I always love magic and the weaving of it into the lives of the characters. Kaikeyi is an interesting and dynamic character, cursed by the Gods, or Gods-touched it seems so the sway of the gods doesn’t affect her. 

            You see her build these connections knowing that she has a destiny that will rip her and all those relationships apart. 

            I loved the dynamics of the familial relationships throughout because that was a big part of it and how easily breakable a relationship is. 

            The ending was sad and it kind of left me just wondering about things because I know that that’s probably where the original myth and legend starts off, so maybe reading it now will make me have a different perspective about the character of Kaikeyi in the original myth. 

            Remember these are all my opinions and not every book is for everybody and that is totally fine. Because I know that a lot of my favorite books are not well liked by some. We are allowed to dislike things, art and literature are subjective. This might be someone else’s book of the year, it was good, but it was not 100% for me. 

            I think that people forget that we all are allowed opinions on the internet, we all don’t have to like everything all the time and that’s totally cool.

            This book didn’t do it for me like others do and that is the beauty of choice and opinion, we don’t have to like everything that we read, view, or listen to. Art is subjective, it has been and always will be. So, while I enjoyed this, it was not one of my top ten so far this year. 

            If you want to see what else I have read this year, you totally can, just click on the month, January, February, and March

            I will be back later in the week with another post so, until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

Books I Read in April 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Last month was not a great showing on the number of books that I was planning on reading but I kept up such a pace in February that a mini-slump was inevitable. I knew it was coming and clearly March was that month, oops. I had such plans on where I wanted to be on my TBR this month. If I want to actually hit the goal that I thought that I would get to I would need to read a little over a dozen books and I just don’t see that happening, it might, but who knows. I am going to try, but I am not going to burn myself out to get there. 

            I have read 33 books so far and as I am writing this; I only have another hundred or so pages in the book I am reading, hence why I started this post today because I know I’m going to finish it and I need to have this part started before I do. I want to get a good chuck of my TBR read earlier in the year so I can read whatever I want later, I’m beginning to think that is a mistake because being a mood reader means that I want to buy all the books that I see that I think I might like so here we are. I do not have the room for more books but I could be doing things that are a lot worse. 

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase (4/5)

            It was a slow start but when I got into it, I could not put it down. I know that I say that about a lot of books, this one was no different though. It was good, there was a moment in it where I almost hurled it across the room because incest is not allowed in this house. (It was a lie so we are good.) I guessed the plot twist pretty early on, but it was a fun read and felt very cinematic overall. The Epilogue was weird and it felt completely unnecessary to be completely honest. It had a really happy ending before that though and I was smiling a lot throughout it. I am not 100% when the “modern” timeline took place actually, I just couldn’t pin point it. I was happy with the read overall though and that is my fifth historical fiction (yes, I’m counting it as historical) of the year so I am half done with that category which is a lot of fun. 

Book Boyfriend by Claire Kingsley (4.2/5)

            Well, it was short, sweet, and hella spicy. Like I read it in two days because I finished the one above and started this one on the same day. It was so spicy, like there is spicy and then there is SPICY this one was that. It was cute, it really was and it was one of those books that kept me turning page after page. I loved the characters and the plot was interesting, I mean it was a lot, but it was such a fun, quick read. I will probably read the other two in the series that focus on Alex’s siblings. If you want a cute little romp with something I wish would happen in real life, someone buying you books in a bookstore like they would buy you a drink, this one might be right up your street.

Always Look on The Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle (4/5)

            I love Monty Python, I watched The Holy Grail in high school, I was probably just a touch young to watch it and then one of my first Netflix binges after I moved to Arkansas was finally watching all of Flying Circus, twice. I love the humor and I for sure will make random references every once in a while, I for sure have said “and now for something completely different” to my students before and they just look at me. I have also said Ni over and over again like a crazy person. I loved reading about one of my favorite Pythons, I think that the humor has both lasted for decades and also become so quotable and timeless. I have for sure also said ‘nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition’ in casual conversation to see who understands it. Reading stories about these storied figures in pop culture history was fascinating to be completely honest, man times were wild and there were chapters dedicated to people who changed the world because of who they were. I laughed, a lot, while reading this book and now I want to go back and watching Flying Circus again. My copy is also signed because Barnes and Noble did that in like 2018 and I had to have it. 

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel (3.5/5)

            It was my April Book of the Month book, if you want a full review of it, you can totally can when it comes out in a few days. I liked the book; it was not super for me and that is totally cool. Not every book is for everybody and that is what is really cool about having varying reading tastes. You don’t have to 100% love everything, not every book can be your favorite book. Some books are just there to teach you things. 

The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow (4/5)

            This came out right before the pandemic and reading it now almost hurts. It’s YA dystopian alien fiction. It was good, maybe I’m not the target demographic but it was good. The ending was weird and I have no idea if there is a second one because I was confused by the ending, it felt like it came up too quickly and I don’t feel like it was resolved, but it leaves it open so who knows. It was a super cute little love story between a human and an alien trying to save the world from more aliens, it kept me engaged throughout the novel so that’s always a good thing. This is one of those books that I could for sure being made into a film, it was written like a movie and I enjoyed it overall.

Pleading the Fish by Bree Baker (4/5)

            This is the last in the series and I am upset about it! I love the series and I hate when series ends, I mean really, it’s short for a cozy series to be completely honest, only seven books. I loved Charm and all the characters. Like reading it was very Once Upon a Time for me for some reason, I think it was the names, I don’t know. I loved it though, but I am sad that it’s over. The epilogues were weird, I got really confused for a minute and had to re-read them because you know it skipped like thirty years between one epilogue and the next, there were three. The story was good, it was a little bland for me though to be honest, I loved the love story in this more than the mystery in this one, which for me is really odd when it comes to cozies. I am just a little crushed that this was the last one. Now I have to find a new series to read, dang it. 

Twisted Games by Ana Huang (4.3/5)

            I couldn’t put it down; I literally told my cousin that it’s like The Princess Diaries but they do it. It was so good and it ripped me apart the same way that Twisted Love did, this one is a lot spicier though, like so spicy. I love Ana’s writing, she’s great and I cannot wait to read the other two in the Twisted series. I love Bridget and Rhys and how it followed for a little while at the beginning alongside the timeline of Twisted Love, the twists and turns had me turning page after page. I loved the found family aspect, though I for sure called the plot twist like 200 pages in, I was even right about the character that the twist pertained to. I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing, she laid some amazing groundwork for it. This one had a lot of very traumatic moments, so if you are averse to that, I would avoid it. Though it seems the whole series is like that and Ana, don’t rip my heart out again, please! Like I love a happily ever after and I am no above throwing books across my office! (Then carefully picking them up and apologizing to them.) 

A Study in Ashes by Emma Jean Holloway (4.2/5)

            This is the third and final in this series, I read the first one in 2016 and the second one last year. I loved this series, it was so fun sherlock Holmes, sky pirates, steampunk, a London ruled by the steam barons. This book was dense and the ending did leave me with questions, but that is totally cool. I have had this book on my shelf for a long time and it was so worth the wait. I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about the series when I purchased them, but it was amazing. I wanted so much different for the main character in the first book, but the person she became was dimensional and I loved watching her grow through the series and the trauma that she went through. 

Delicious by Ruth Reichl (3/5)

            Three is a generous score. I liked most of the book though, that’s the only reason that it is getting a three. It had so much potential, it was so good and then like 75 pages from the end it shifted. I hated the ending; it was so quick and left me absolutely unsatisfied. The wrap up was an email and it just felt so rushed. Like if you like this book, cool, I loved parts of this book but the ending and a lot of that felt inconsistent with the rest of the novel. I was so hopeful that I would like this book because I was enjoying the read so much, the ending ruined it for me. 

            Well, I only read nine books in April which I wanted to read more, I had a goal of 13, but April came through and kicked me in the teeth so here we are. I read some good books this month and some that I will be unhauling at the end of the year. Though I am on book 42 of the year so that means there are books that I probably won’t like. I also bought a bunch of books in April because I have a problem. 

            If you want to see all the other books that I have read this year, you totally can with January, February, and March

            I will be back later in the week with another post, so until then I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 4/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission, Delicious, )

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 4/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny,)

Historical: 5/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, Black Rabbit Hall, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 6/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, A study in Ashes,)

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 2/2 (Buffering and Always Look on The Bright Side of Life)

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 4/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, Kaikeyi, )

Extras: 11/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, Book Boyfriend, The Sound of Stars, Twisted Games,)

BookTok Made Me Buy It

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I never and I truly mean never thought I would be writing a post like this. BookTok is a thing that has taken over my life. I have over a dozen books in my Amazon cart because of it and it’s because there was one line on the internet that hooked me in. It’s a problem, I didn’t used to buy books at the rate I am currently buying books and that is really a problem for me! 

I did put them in the order that they are pretty much on my TBR. I have only read to Book Boyfriend. Which is about in the middle.

            I have bought a lot of books this year and most of them were because of TikTok, the others were because of Book of the Month, but BookTok has a hold on me. There are books that I claimed for a long time that I wouldn’t read, like ACOTAR (which I love!) but then the internet got ahold of me and I have discovered something that is highly addictive. 

            So, this is just going to be a list, more or less, there will be some blurbs with books that I have already read but I am only going to talk about the ones that are currently in my collection, not in my Amazon cart Save for Later section because it would be a much longer list then. 

            Everyone knows how much I loved The Love Hypothesis, that was one of the first BookTok books that I actually bought and that was in December, that’s right, December. The other one that I bought because of BookTok was A Fate of Wrath and Flame, that book was amazing and I am really excited for the second one that comes out in June I think, I have no idea where it’s going to go, but I always hope for a happy ending. 

I could say that BookTok also convinced me to buy Kingdom of The Wicked and Kingdom of The Cursed because I saw it there for a while, but I would have bought them either way because I read the Stalking Jack the Ripper series last year as well and I love her writing. She’s one of those authors that I will pick up her books knowing nothing about them. 

            Next was A Court of Thorns and Roses, I devoured that book and I just finished A Court of Mist and Fury. That book broke me and I have something like 20 books until I read the next one, I am so excited for the next one. I am waiting until A Court of Silver Flames comes out in paperback before I grab that one, which is in September. September is going to be a big month for all the books that I am waiting for. 

            Then I fell down a hole, and I do mean a hole, I found my wait onto another section of BookTok and well, none of those books I can take to work, let’s just put it that way. Is it a weird side of TikTok? Yes, but man do I have a lot of books in my Amazon cart because of it. 

            So, what have a bought this year alone that really belong on the BookTok made me do it list? I have to consult the Book Bullet Journal for that because there are several and most of them were read in February where I read 15 books, which for me is a record. 

            Also, a lot of these authors are on TikTok and that’s usually where I find their books so it’s been fun to see what people are out there writing. Hot Vampire Next Door is a lot, it’s good, but so much and the first two are out in paperback, the third will come out eventually and I know that. I could read it on Kindle Unlimited, but that would not be a good idea and I really like physical books. 

            The Twisted series by Ana Huang is amazing and I have only read the first one, I have the other two that are out and I am waiting for the fourth one because I love the idea of intertwining standalones because that’s so fun. 

            Deal with the Elf King was one I saw there as well and I don’t remember what made me add it to my Amazon cart but I did and it was sweet, it was a lot but really cute. The second in the series is also sitting in my Amazon cart as well because why not, just need a little hit of serotonin that books have been giving me lately. 

            The Fine Print was the last one that I read because of BookTok, it was…a lot and the sequel to that is also in my Amazon cart because I have a problem, I straight up have a problem and here we are, not regretting any little bit of it. 

            I hope y’all can sense a theme here, hence why I cannot read them in public, or ar work, or with other people around, they are all a lot. 

            Those are the ones I have read so far so I am going to do a quick fire of the other ones that I have in my TBR as extras because I needed to have some actual choice books in my list that I didn’t mick from my shelves. Book Boyfriend I will start here today and hopefully by the time that this post comes out I will be done with it, long done with it. Also, there is Twisted Games which is the second in the Twisted series which I am looking forward to. Twisted Hate is later in the TBR pile, but it’s up there and I am looking forward to it, it’s a thick book. A Not So Meet Cute which I have heard good things about. Hooked which I have heard is dark, I don’t know how I am going to feel about that one, but here we are. It Happened One Summer because the internet told me to and I loved Schitt’s Creek which was an inspiration for this one. Not the Witch You Wed which is a paranormal, again, here we are. A Winter’s Promise which I know a little bit about because of the internet but I don’t know a lot about it and that’s always fun, I think that one is YA so I don’t expect it to be risqué at all and that’s the hope here. 

            Like I said I have about a dozen in my Amazon cart and that means that this list will grow, I joke that I could be doing drugs or other things, instead I buy books. I am looking forward to a lot of the books on my BookTok list and I know that there will be other books that join this list even if I never make another post like this, I probably will when I actually buy and read more. I don’t need to buy more books though so I am going to try and keep myself from buying any more books at least this month. 

            Well, there you have it, if you are interested in seeing what I have actually read this year, you totally can with January, February, and March. If you want to see how I track my books, that’s cool too with my Book Bullet Journal for January and February. I will be back later in the week with another post so until then I hope that everyone has a great time until then, I also hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ 

Books I Read in March 2022

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I don’t know how we got here. I really don’t, it’s March, somehow. I read 15 books in February, only 14 made it to the last blog post because I finished the other one after the post came out, so I read it in February but it’s on this post. There is just too much some days. 

            I have literally a dozen books in my Amazon save for later cart because I am on a book buying ban until the end of April (I made it to the tail end of March, my bad), I’ve bought 14 books this year and it’s March. That’s a lot of books, I love books though and I am such a mood reader and BookTok doesn’t help. It doesn’t help one little bit. 

            I am starting this month off with a book that is not on my TBR, it was an extra add-on I got with Book of the Month. I am learning that I need to mix in extra books that I want to read in with my TBR books so I don’t hit the dreaded reading slump because no one needs that. 

Well Met by Jen DeLuca (4.3/5)

            I couldn’t put it down. I love a good rom-com and enemies to lovers; it’s a really good trope and I loved this book. It was super cute and super real. I read like 230 pages in one night because I couldn’t put it down and the rest of the series so far is in my Amazon cart because I want to read the rest of it! I loved the family angle and the Ren Faire angle so much, the handfasting bit was so fun and I love Emily and Simon, this book for sure gave me New Girl vibes and I was here for it! It was super cute and had me laughing out loud several times alone in my apartment. It’s a rom-com so it’s a little spicy, but tame compared to some of the books I read last month. 

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (4/5)

            This book came out in the 1970’s. I want to preface it with that, who doesn’t love an Arthurian legend though? I love Arthurian legend and this is a telling of Merlin growing up and it was really good. It was a lot to read but totally worth it. The next one is already on my TBR for next year, do I think I will complete the whole series? I am going to try. I pictured only the characters from BBC’s Merlin the whole time I was reading it because why not. There is so much in the legend and the canon of Arthur and his round table. I have The Once and Future King in my collection as well, I should have read that in high school, I didn’t, it was a mistake to not read it then but I didn’t want to. I’ll loop back around to it eventually. It was interesting seeing the origins of Merlin who is such an intragyral character in fantasy, the idea of him spans much further than the legends themselves. 

Teacher Misery by Jane Morris (4.3/5)

            I am a teacher, this book was hilarious, it hurt so much at some points though because it is so true that it’s pathetic and it came out before the pandemic! Like I cannot imagine what could be added if the pandemic was included. There were so many things that had me laughing but also nodding and shaking my head because apparently it is not uncommon for things that I have seen or heard that happen in schools happen in more than one place and that seems a little ridiculous. TeacherTok is a real place that I have found myself in and we are all going through it y’all. This book was hilarious, real, and I wish I could say shocking, but it wasn’t. It was a reflection of the current state of our education system and while I love teaching, I love my kids, and my school family, but some days you just want to sit at your desk and cry because it’s overwhelming at all times anymore. Please check in on your teacher friends, we are not okay. 

Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma (4.4/5)

            This was my March Book of the Month so this one has its whole own dedicated post. I am going to brief overview it here, but if you want to know my more in-depth feelings on it you can check that post out when it does, I will link it here so you can read it if you want. It was cute and I enjoyed it a lot, it had a lot of interesting topics and fun moments. A little spicer than I am used to when it comes to more of the romantic comedy genre. It was a really fun book though and if you are looking for a cute enemies to lovers and fake dating rom-com, this one is for sure something that you might want to look into. 

Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz (2.5/5)

            I didn’t like it, actually there were no redeeming qualities for me when I read this book. I bought it when the movie came out because I wanted to read it before I saw the movie. I never saw the movie and this book has been in my collection since like 2013. Maybe I would have liked it more then, but now, it gave me all the icky feelings. Like it was boring, the drama was predictable and annoying, and the ending was terrible. Like I didn’t like the main character at all, I feel like I should, I feel like I should have felt bad for her and everything she went through, I don’t. I am angry about this book, like this is the closest I have gotten to DNFing a book since like 2016. I put off starting this book for almost a week and read another book instead. It wasn’t good. I normally say that not every book is for everybody and I do still think that. A lot of people liked this book, I was not one of them. Normally I can find qualities in a book that I like, this one had none for me. The relationships and friendships felt forced and unnatural, the plot lines were a lot and not in a good way, and I found myself skimming sections because I didn’t care to read them. Most of the time I at least kind of recommend the books that I read; I don’t recommend this one. This is one that will be leaving my collection at the end of the year and I won’t be sad to see it go. 

It Devours! By Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (4/5)

            I have been an avid listener of the podcast Welcome To night Vale for a long time, I actually need to catch up on it because I loved the series and then I stopped listening to podcasts. I forget them, sorry, my bad. This is the second novel from that universe and this one was a little weird; in Night Vale though that is 100% par for the course. This focused-on Carlos and his band of scientists trying to figure out why pieces of the town are being devoured. The Joyful Congregation of the Smiling God makes a large appearance, that was fun. I was not a huge fan of the ending to be completely honest, I liked the rest of it, it was a lot of fun. Violent, but a lot of fun. Just the end made it a little less cohesive, also I like happy endings and it really wasn’t 100% that. It was fun though and I will eventually read the third novel, I just have to get to it. 

Sword of Destiny by Andjez Sapkowski (4/5)

            I mean, I like The Witcher Netflix series, it’s fun. I started reading it because my best friend was obsessed with the game, at the time she had played something like 1,300 hours and that to me is insane, more power to her. I have played something like 500+ on Animal Crossing so I understand that better now. It was good collection of stories, some that were in the series already and a few that I would like to see in the series in the future. The one with the mermaids was fascinating, I will say this, they are different than the series for sure. Some are closer to what you see on screen and some are vastly different. I am excited to read the actual series and I will probably read it later in the year when I am done with my TBR. 

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero (4/5)

            This took me days to read. It was good, Scooby Doo meets Supernatural. It was weird, I am going to put it that way, it was just weird, but it was fun. I enjoyed reading it, I am on vacation so I didn’t read it like I should have. There were a lot of comments on Kerri’s hair, which was really weird. The whole book was really weird, it was a good weird though. Like I wanted to go back and re-read things but I didn’t, it was interesting though and I did enjoy it. It was written a little strangely which was okay, again, the book is strange. I feel like I want to say more about it and I really don’t know what to say about it though, I enjoyed the book, that’s the bottom line, it was just a little odd and I can’t think of any more synonyms for it. 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (5/5)

            I couldn’t put it down and it’s like 600 something pages. I get why the internet gives one of the characters a not so nice nickname, I completely understand I swore at him a lot throughout reading it. I want to go to the Night Court; I want to be there and I loved all of those characters that I have been seeing on the internet. The imagery is stunning and I cannot wait to read the next one. The end, it broke me a little, actually it broke me a lot, there was swearing, almost tears, and just heart break; absolute heartbreak even though we all know there are more books in the series. If I was reading these when they came out, I think that the waiting for the third one would have killed me. I love Rhys, that should shock no one I always go for that type in books, he’s a lot, but in the best way.

            Well there you have it, I only read nine books in March, there is one that isn’t on here because it was for One School One Book and we read Frindle

            I for sure wanted to read more in March and I expected to because I was off for a week with Spring Break but we traveled and it was like 2000 something miles in the car and I can’t read in the car. So, I didn’t read as many books as I wanted to.

            My goal in April is 10 books, I think, I had a much more ambitious goal but I don’t see that happening because I didn’t read all the ones I wanted to read in the month of March. That’s okay though, reading 15 in February was an unsustainable. 

            If you are curious what else I have read this year, you totally can and see what I read in January and February. This list will grow and grow as the year goes on and I am looking forward to it. 

            I hope everyone has a great day and I will be back soon with another post! So, until then stay safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ

Let’s Keep Track Shall We?: 

General Fiction: 3/10 (The Runaway Princess, Since You’ve Been Gone, Admission,)

Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 4/10 (The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Hiddensee, The Crystal Cave, Sword of Destiny)

Historical: 4/10 (The Velvet Hours, In the Shadow of Paris, And Only to Deceive, Radio Girls, )

Thriller: 2/2 (The Alienist and Meddling Kids)

Free Choice: 5/14 (Love and Gravity, A Fate of Wrath and Flame, City of Lost Dreams, It Devours!, A Court of Mist and Fury, )

Memoirs/Autobiographies: 1/2 (Buffering and )

General Non-Fiction: 2/2 (The Happiness Advantage and Teacher Misery)

Book of The Month: 3/12 (Reckless Girls, A River Enchanted, Dating Dr. Dil, )

Extras: 8/? (Midnight Spells Murder, Hot Vampire Next Door S1, Twisted Love, Malibu Rising, A Deal with the Elf King, Hot Vampire Next Door S2, The Fine Print, Well Met, )

March Book of the Month Review:

Title: Dating Dr. Dil

Author: Nisha Sharma

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I saw this book on TikTok a while back, before it was a choice for book of the month and I immediately thought of a YouTube Sims 4 series that I used to watch. It brought a smile to my face. Which is completely unrelated to this review, but just a bit of general knowledge about me as a person. 

            By now everyone knows that I have a weird relationship with romance novels, it should be no shock that I chose it though because I love a good enemies to lovers rom-com romp and this for sure was that. 

            This book was great, I really enjoyed it even though I am not a part of the culture, so some of the things were lost on me. I laughed a lot though and I hope there are going to be more because I can see some future couples from reading this book. Also, according Goodreads it’s #1 in the ‘If Shakespeare was an Auntie’ series and that title amused me greatly. 

            Let’s set it up, Kareena Mann is a career driven 30-year-old (as someone who will be 30 in a couple of weeks, that is scary) who is single, and in the culture being single at 30 is frowned upon. I mean that seems to be a cultural norm for a lot of people and that’s not fair. 

            There is a lot of strife in the family and Kareena is treated poorly by the other members of her family, they are a lot, I can for sure tell you that. Some of the running jokes with the family are hilarious though. She throws a drink on a hot-shot doctor and then they fake date, which leads to real dating, which leads to things, and then fights, doubting, and then well it’s happily ever after. Also, I love Kareena’s friends; they are real and a lot and remind me of some of my friends. 

            Of course, the love interest is a lot also, a doctor who has a very guarded heart of gold who isn’t in touch with his feelings and at the beginning is kind of painted as an ass. You learn to like him, I promise. I can’t ever see the word Charlie the same though now because of this book. That’s just a thing, I am trying not to spoil it, but there are several scenes that qualify as spicy, I didn’t expect so much spice, but I should have expected it to be honest. 

            I was a fun little book though and I breezed through it, it was a little predictable because it’s romance and they have that formula, this one was fun though and I enjoyed it even though I was lost some times with the cultural stuff, that is no one’s fault but my own. I am not part of it, so I can look at it from the outside but not understand it from an inside perspective. 

            Like Well Met, this one almost gave me New Girl vibes but more Cici and Schmidt, I really enjoyed New Girl, it was a really good show. 

            Will I read the rest in the series if this is a series? I will, it was fun and I like the characters. The epilogue in this book was really well done, as an online advice column, sort and sweet, and left it completely open. That’s the epilogue I like, let me draw my own conclusions. 

            I loved that Kareena was hard working and expected a lot of people, also this book just proved to me that online dating is for sure not for me. I do wish that a little more credence would have been given to her job because being a lawyer for a startup to help found women owned businesses sounds super cool and I felt like it was a little glazed over. 

            I didn’t get around to posting my rating up top though, so we are going to get to that here, I gave it a solid 4.4. It was good and I cannot wait for the rest if there are more, it was fun and I love interconnected standalones so much. 

            Well, there it is, my March BotM, I go an add-on this month as well and that was The Cartographers, I will get around to reading it eventually, but not quite yet. 

If you want to check out the other Books of the Month that I have gotten this year, you totally can with January and February.

            I will be back later in the week with another post so until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ 

MJ’s 2022 Book Bullet Journal Update#1: January and February

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            I don’t know how we are already in March; I have no idea how that happened, but here we are. I also did not expect to read as much as I did in January and February, but again, here we are. I want to be able to go back to beginning of 2021 MJ and tell her that I have read like 20 books in the first two months of the year when last year I only read like eight books in two months. I blame BookTok and the fact that I have now trained myself to want to read 100 pages a day. It’s better than snacking or spiraling while overthinking because I do that more than I would like to admit. 

            Doing a book bullet journal this year has scratched an itch in my brain that I didn’t know that I had, it makes me happy and that’s really what’s important to me at the moment. I like making lists and crossing things off or updating things, if you have followed me for any length of time you know that. 

            I did post an overview of my Book Bullet Journal in December, so if you want to see the beginning pages, go ahead, there was nothing about my monthly layouts there so that’s always fun. 

            Let’s dive right in though, I like doing updates because it holds me accountable to actually doing it and that’s what I need at the moment, accountability. 

            All of my months are set up the same way and I know that I will make changes next year, I already have a list. This year is a learning year, a year where I can do proof of concept to see if it is sustainable, I did the same thing with my regular bullet journal and so far, so good. 

January: 

Cover: Simple like ringing in the new year and a quote from one of my favorite books from last year The Starless Sea (if you like fantasy, I would recommend it). Also, the highlighted days are days that I finished reading a book, it was just a last-minute thing that gave me a visual to see the number of books and how quickly I was reading them. There is no color on this one, I just kind of forgot to color in the gems, maybe I’ll do that later, who knows.

Books Read Page: Just a condensed visual of what I read, who it was by, and the dates that I read it. I track that through GoodReads too and several other places. I track a lot of things more than once because that’s just who I am as a person. 

Thoughts/Insights: I saw this layout on TikTok and I was like “yep, this is for me.” Text and visual is how I like to learn and how I like to see things so here we are and in January because I read nine books, eight fit here and one had to go in the back. (I am going to have more thoughts pages next year for sure.)

Monthly Stats: I started out with just the first column which is books read, books bought, genres I read, author breakdown, pages read, average rating, and # of five-star books. As well as the Book of the Month as well. I ended up adding Average page count, average reading time in days, and # to unhaul very late in January because I love stats and I am genuinely curious about all the things that I am tracking on a monthly basis. 

January Recap: I messed up on this one, oops. I don’t really like the colors so I am going to work on that as the months go on to make that standardized, I want all of them to look the same and I kind of dislike the colors on my ratings chart for sure as well as my format chart, the colors just make me a little angry and that’s just me. 

Monthly Book Stack: I have a yearly as well, I like the monthly as well though and I for sure made them bigger in February because these ones are too small and again, it was January, this is a building year for my book bullet journal. 

            Between each month I have an extra page so between January and February I have the covers of my Book of the Month books. 

February:

Cover: I liked the idea of stuff hanging, I chose hearts. My covers for my Book BuJo are super simple because my regular Bullet Journal is really detailed and I needed to not do that in two separate things, I would stop to be honest, I would just not do it; I know my limits. Also, a Princess Bride quote, because duh. 

Books Read: There are a lot more this month because I read 15 books in February (yes, that’s right, 15) In all honesty and fairness only about half of them were on my TBR, the other half were BookTok made me buy them. This month was a lot. 

Thoughts/Insights: So many books so little space. I will for sure being doing four pages instead of two when I do this next year. Yes, I am color coding the stars to the month I am reading them in. I love to color code.

Monthly Stats: Carbon copy of last month just different stats. 

Recap: Again, carbon copy of last month just with different stats. I know that’s a little repetitive and lame, but I like this one better. 

Monthly Book Stack: They are so much better than January and I really like the larger book style this month that I didn’t do in January. 

            This months between month page is my Book of the Month ratings, I didn’t subscribe to BotM until after I started my Book BuJo last summer so I had to add them in, next year they will just get their own pages at the beginning in the front. We are working on it y’all, working on it. 

            Well, that’s it for this update, I think there are enough updates in this post and pieces so here we are at the end and I will be back in April with another update, because I have a problem. 

            Until then though, I hope that everyone has a good rest of the week and you all stay safe, happy, and healthy.

            -MJ 

February Book of the Month Review:

Title: A River Enchanted

Author: Rebecca Ross

Rating: 4/5

            Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Here we are with another Book of the Month review and this one was over 400 pages, that is such a long book, but I enjoyed it so much. It was really interesting and this will probably contain spoilers because I read like 200 pages in a day and that’s just where I am at the moment. I wasn’t going to write this post tonight but here I am; I was also not planning on finishing the book tonight, but again, here I am. 

            This book had an amazing story spun throughout with the almost Highland feeling with all of the spirits and the warring clans on the same island. I feel like I just read something similar with warring clans and I have read ten books so far this month and it’s only the 16th so I don’t actively remember at the moment because my brain is falling asleep and I am the sleepy tired. 

            I loved the magic system in this book, using the spirits and the enchantments through tangible objects was so interesting to use as a mechanic. I love legends and myths and this weaved those elements into it so well. I also loved that all of the magic and enchantments seemed to be through skills and careers and that is again so cool. 

            It is part of a series and according to Goodreads the next one comes out in December so I will hopefully be reading it in December because the cliffhanger had me wanting to throw this book across my office. I am in pain and I don’t like books that leave me at a cliffhanger and leave me in pain.

            This book did take a while for me to get into it, it was for sure a slow build. The first hundred pages or so had me wondering if I was even going to enjoy it and then it got good. It flipped between perspectives and it was done so well. I just read another book that shifted perspectives and it didn’t feel necessary. This made the story, this one multi-dimensional and I enjoyed it so much. 

            The dynamics of the characters and their lives was so cool, I loved all of the family elements in this and I am wondering how the ending of this book will affect all of those relationships into the next book. 

            I really liked the characters and all of the threads woven together where their lives overlap. I thought it was all going to be told through Jack’s perspective but I was glad that it wasn’t. 

            Brief summary of the plot, Jack a Bard is called home by the Laird of his island of Cadence because little girls are going missing. He finds out that the Laird wasn’t the one who called him, it was the Laird’s daughter who was Jack’s nemesis when they were children before he was sent to the mainland for school. Let’s be honest they are enemies to lovers and that’s fun. They are considering trade with the West of the island who they don’t get along with and the Heiress wants that trade to begin but the Heir of the West is…I don’t want to compare him to a piece of anatomy, but he is (that makes sense when you read the book). Jack has the ability to call the spirits for the earth, water, and wind and they have to because those spirits have the answers they seek about the missing girls. 

There are so many plot lines that snake together and it was so interesting and compelling after you get passed that first chunk of the book. Some people might be hooked from page one, I was not, I was hooked from about page 100 or so. 

If you like fantasy, the power of music, and the Scottish Highlands aesthetic; this one is for sure something that might be for you.

If you want to see the other books I have gotten this year and my feelings on them, you for sure can because I love linking things to things, January was an adventure.

I will see everyone later in the week with another post, so until then, I hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy.

-MJ 

MJ’s Book Rating System

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            Honestly, I saw this idea scrolling through TikTok really early on Sunday morning and I had never really thought about how I rate my books and how subjective ratings can be. I rate books different than other people and other people rate different than me and that is really interesting. 

            Since I have been reading and rating a lot of books lately, I think I need to go over my rating system because I never really thought about how I rate books, I just rate them and then move on. My ratings might straight up depend on my mood while I am reading the book and that has to be okay. 

            I am a mood reader so while I am working through my TBR my scores tend to be lower and that’s not fair to those books, but if I didn’t give myself a TBR I would never read half the books I own and that seems even worse. 

            I also rate on a sliding scale, I rate books whole numbers and decimals depending on how much I like them because I hate straight whole number ratings, do I rate just whole numbers? Of course I do, but I also rate .1-.9 as well. 

1 Star (1-1.9):

            I don’t think I have ever rated a book at a one that I ended up finishing. This rating is for books that I have DNFed and the last book I DNFed was Gossip. I also rated Crimson Peak a one as well because that book was a lot and I originally rated it higher and then reevaluated because I couldn’t. I finished it and didn’t pick up another book for several weeks. A one start rating for me is really rare because I usually only pick up books I think that I am going to like and I am a little more selective now than I was at the time. One stars for me are the books that give you that feeling in your stomach that something is wrong, that you just need to put the book down and leave it down.

2 Stars (2-2.9):

            I rated three books last year in this category because they were hard to get through, they were all classics and that’s fine. I didn’t enjoy them. 2-star ratings are pretty much just as rare as my 1-star ratings because I am selective. Usually 2-star books are just not well written or they have subject matter in them that should have been a trigger warning. There are very few books outside of the classics that I have rated 2 stars. I rate classics like that because they were really dense and I slogged through them, I don’t like taking months to read books because I am annoyed. The classics also need to be listened to and I think if I listened the audio books, I would like them a lot more. A 2-star rating for me is that feeling of creeping dread, you know something weird is going on but you don’t know what it is. 

3 Stars (3-3.9):

            Most of the books I read fall in this category. They are good, they make have a few things that I don’t really like but they also have things that I really do. 3 Stars is kind of my catch all because it’s average. I don’t like to rate below this benchmark because I know how hard writing is, and what might be for me may not be for someone else and vice-versa. Most of my TBR books end up here which is totally fine, I just finished Malibu Rising and gave it 3.5 because while it was good it was a lot and it moved too fast for me to keep up, also the ending left me feeling unfulfilled. It was a good story and a great idea; it was just not 100% for me. A 3-Star rating gives me the ups and downs, it makes me smile and feel for the characters, and it makes me want to keep reading. 

4 Stars (4-4.9):

            These books are amazing, I don’t give many 4- and 5-star ratings so if a book is 4 stars it means that I really enjoyed it. It means that I couldn’t put it down and I loved the story, the characters, and everything else about it. Sometimes these books are books that make me feel so much. Like I read a lot of books and most of them do not wow me. To get a 4-Star rating the book has to wow me, I have only rated a handful of books 4 Stars this year. Last year when I got to mood reading, I rated a lot of them 4 Stars and that is because they made me feel a lot of things. These are the books that I devour in just days or a day, if I read the whole thing in a day, it’s usually in this category. I know that a lot of reader like to put books in this category and if you look at my GoodReads list I rate a lot more books a 4 than I actually do because I cannot do half ratings, so if I think it’s 3.5 or over, I rate it a four. Is it always a four? No, but if I can’t rate it by half or decimal then I have to go with the closest whole number. (#TeacherProblems)

5 Stars:

            I rarely rate books 5 Stars, I can count on about seven fingers the books that I have rated five stars since the beginning of 2021, I don’t rate books this highly often because this means that they blew me away. These are the books that I want to reread as soon as I put them down, these are books that have touched a part of me in my heart and in my brain where only a few books get to live. I know that 5-Stars seems like an unattainable rating and for me, it kind of is. These are books that go on my trophy shelf in my bedroom, they don’t get packed up at the end of the year with the rest of my books and that is really cool. There are some 4-Star books in there as well. These books take you for the ride of the book with them, they transport you to that world and you feel like you are there immersed with the characters, these are the books that I recommend to people, or buy for people even though they may not like them and it breaks my heart just a little bit when people don’t like my favorite books, it’s subjective and I know that.

            So that’s my rating system, pretty much in as many words and I can describe it. I hadn’t ever thought about justifying my rating system even though like half of my posts at the moment are about books because that is a big part of my life right now. I had a weird week at work last week and this post will come out two days after Valentine’s Day so just know that I needed to make a list. Work wasn’t bad, my kids were being a lot, but other things happened that made it a good week and I am hoping that as you are reading this I am having a good week out here in academia. 

            So, until I see y’all again with another post on Sunday, I hope that everyone has a great rest of the week and I also hope that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy. 

            -MJ