My First Experience With Book Outlet

It’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day! If you are ever in Memphis, Tennessee and want to learn about this amazing man, and others involved in the Civil Rights movement, check out the National Civil Rights Museum. You know, when Covid hasn’t closed it. They are having virtual programs today, Jan 18, if you want to learn more.

On with the completely unrelated blog post!

I heard about Book Outlet on TicTok. So I read a few reviews online and decided to give them a try.

First thing you need to know is that they don’t carry the newest releases. What they do carry is recent releases that are maybe one or two years old. But maybe not the most popular things. But sometimes the popular things. You just have no way of knowing unless you check back regularly.

I know, super helpful.

Second thing to know is that the shipping is, well, problematic. They tell you with the free shipping that it can take anywhere from 3 to 20 business days. They mean that. I ordered mine on Friday, November 20th and didn’t get it until Saturday, December 12th. That’s 23 total days, 14 business days.

The website interface is…interesting. Searching for books by title is easy enough. And you can break down the book options by genre. It’s when you go to search by authors that it gets really tricky. You have to search last name first, with a comma between the last and first names, and both must have the first letters capitalized or the search results will come back with nothing. It took me a few tries to figure this out.

Twas annoying.

Now onto the books themselves! I ordered 6 books and I am pleased to report that I received all 6 books. And in good condition! Though one did arrive with a store sticker on it. I had seen that was a possibility before hand, I was just hoping I would be spared that fate.

Oh well.

The packing slip came with clear instructions on how to make a return, file a claim for missing or mismatched merchandise, or just how to ask general questions. I had no need to do any of those things, so I can’t speak to whether or not that’s easy.

I’d say my only drawback was the shipping time, so if you need a book fast, don’t buy it here.

I have since purchased from Book Outlet again.

Martha and Marley Spoon-A Break Up

Well, it finally happened. We had to break up with Martha and Marley Spoon.

I know did a pro/con list when I did my review in September, but the food was really good, so we were willing to give them a fair shot. Now, here we are, 5 months later, and we are cancelling Marta and Marley Spoon.

I thought I would tell you why.

Problem #1: We kept getting bad meat. They would always credit our account, but it just kept happening. At least once every two weeks.

Problem #2: The customer service is so slow. We would wait a week or two sometimes for a reply from them. We would get a generic “due to high email volume” form email after two or three days, but still. The waiting.

Problem #3: We kept having to get the steak and potatoes to accommodate my food allergy. Also their Asian inspired cuisine wasn’t very good, so that also eliminated some food for us.

And there it is. The three reasons we are breaking up with Martha and Marley Spoon. We thought we would give Hello Fresh a shot this time. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Blogging and Reading Goals for 2021

So I thought I would share with you what I hope to do both with the blog and with my reading in 2021. Goals are important. They give us something to strive for. Written down they also give us a way to look back and see if we have accomplished those goals.

Here’s hoping.

More Reviews: I really enjoy writing reviews, and I hope you enjoy reading them. I’m hoping to do at least two reviews a month.

A More Consistent Review Format: I haven’t been very consistent with how I do reviews. I would like to change that. It would be nice for me, and for you, to have a format to follow that makes some kind of sense.

Read More Books: I don’t mean try to read 30 books every month, that would be insane. I can only do that once a year. Maybe. No, I just mean overall. I set my Goodreads/The Storygraph goal at 50 books. Given that I read 82 books this past year, I’m pretty sure I’ll hit it. Probably. I hope. Sure. I can do it! I have faith…in myself.

Read More Non-Fiction Books: I only read two non-fiction books last year. Two! I’m hoping to change that this year. I have a few books in a mind, and a friend already recommended another one for me.

Read All the Books on My TBR Cart: It’s not a TBR per se, but it’s a goal. I bought a lot of books in a short span of time last year, and I need to try to read them all. Or at least get halfway through the cart before I order anymore books. And E-books don’t count. Though I do have a lot of those I need to read too.

Re-Read Some Favorites: I love re-reading books. They feel like those old friends you haven’t seen in a while but it’s like no time has past. I love those books. And those friends. You know who you are.

Do More Book Tags: I have found that I love books tags. For all that I’ve only done two. And coming up with answers that aren’t all The Dragon Prince or Exiles by Melanie Rawn is proving challenging. And I like it!

And there are my goals. What goals do you have for the year?

Skipping the TBR?

Yes, I am skipping the TBR this month.

I know!

What’s a book blogger to do without a TBR?

Mood read, that’s what.

See, I’ve been trying this TBR thing and it hasn’t really worked out for me. I mean, the first month I did it, I did well. But every month after, total failure.

Which is fine. We learn from failure. And what I learned is that maybe I shouldn’t do TBR’s.

See TBR’s feel too much like an assignment. Like something I have to do. And since I am a mood reader, well, that just kills wanting to read.

That’s not good.

I want to read all the books I have, and since I keep buying new ones, well, I need to mood read them. So lets see how this no TBR thing goes.

I hope it goes well for me.

Everything I Read in December 2020

Here we go again! Another waltz around the month to see all I have read!

I kinda did if DNF’ing a book on my TBR list counts. I’m counting it. Because I tried to read it, I really did.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is the story of how Nickolas came to be Santa Claus. I loved this book so much! It was such a cute Christmas read. You can see more about what I thought about this book here. I did give it 5 stars.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

This is a story that asks what if the hero fails and then the villain reigns for a thousand years. My husband has been on me to read this book for a while, and I’m not sure why I didn’t read it sooner, but man did I love this book. 5 out of 5 stars.

In A Holidaze by Christina Lauren

One woman, two brothers, a Christmas wish, and a Groundhog Day style time loop. I’m a sucker for a good time loop story. I liked this book. It was cute and fluffy. A good holiday read. 3 stars.

Paradise Planet by Jesse Lonergan

When their ship crash lands on a planet, a passenger must take care of a drug riddled captain and watch out for hungry lizards. The art was just okay in this graphic novel, and the storyline was poorly done. It could have been more fleshed out. 2 stars.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

Rory Thorne is a princess who has been given thirteen fairy gifts, now she has to use them to save her betrothed from a plot to overthrow his government. I had a really hard time reading this book. I would have DNF’d it, but I actually wanted to know how it would end. 2 Stars.

Dune by Frank Herbert

Dune is the story of Paul Atreides and his time on Arrakis where the “Spice must flow”. Obviously, it’s about more than that, but I didn’t enjoy this book. I don’t connect with the authors writing style so I didn’t finish this book. 1 star.

There. I read my TBR. Sort of. I swear I tried to read Dune. I just can’t connect with it. I still want to see the movie though. I’m a glutton for punishment.

And here are my stats! I really enjoy getting to look at these now that I have discovered The Storygraph.

I read 3 adventurous books last month. And 2 mysterious? This stat will always surprise me I guess. I do like that I managed to read 2 lighthearted books last month. That’s a nice change of pace.

Speaking of pace, 2 fast and 2 medium paced books for me.

Since The Storygraph doesn’t count DNF’s, Mistborn was my highest page read, coming in at 541 pages.

I only read 2 Fantasy books last month? How is that possible? I mean, It’s still my most read genre, but still. Only 2?

And my Average rating being 3.4 stars doesn’t really surprise me. Especially given that I had two books each for 2 star and 5 star books.

Well there you have it. All the stuff I read last month! What a short list. I’m working to read more books this month. But all amount of reading is valid, so at least I’m reading!

December 2020 Wrap Up

Hello everyone! How was your December? Mine was good. Surprisingly busy considering I didn’t even go anywhere. I had a wonderful, and safe, Christmas here at home with the hubs. We missed our family but it was for the best. Also we got to sit around in our PJ’s all day, watch movies, and in the hubs case, build legos.

New Years brought with it more relaxing and some sadness. My uncle very suddenly passed away the morning of New Years Day. He’ll be missed.

And with that depressing note, on to the wrap up.

What I read in November 2020: My reading list for November. This is also when I discovered The Storygraph. Man I love that website.

November 2020 Book Haul: I posted my monthly book haul. Nothing to surprising. I had said I was gonna slow down on the book buying this month. I lied.

What to Read, December TBR: Here you can find my TBR for the month. Spoiler alert, I actually managed it. Sort of. Does it count if you DNF one of the books?

The Autobiography of Santa Claus- A Book Review: I cannot stress enough how much I loved this book. It was so sweet and heart warming.

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag: I did my first book tag! Huzzah! It was themed after the 12 days of Christmas. I enjoyed doing it!

Old Man’s War-A Book Review: I read Old Man’s War by John Scalzi. It was pretty good. Naturally, I wrote a review about it.

The Festive Christmas Book Tag: I actually liked doing this one more than the first one. I think I did better with this one. I’m going to try and do more books tags and see how my answers change!

A Night of Christmas Lights: I shared the time we went to look at the Christmas lights in Grand Prairie, TX. It was a lot of fun!

Book of the Month- A Review: I joined Book of the Month in November and decided to review my experience. Spoiler alert, it was pleasant.

Christmas Book Haul 2020: I received book type gifts for Christmas! So I shared what I got with you, because why not.

2020 Review Round Up: I did a round up of my reviews from this year. Will I do it again next year? I don’t know, it depends on how many books I review.

Books I Did Not Finish in 2020: Pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s all the books I DNF’d in 2020!

And there you go. Everything I posted in December. A few more posts then usual due to the fact that it was the end of the year. Oh well. Just means it was more for me to write. And since I happen to like writing, it works out well!

2020 Reading Stats

2020 was a good reading year for me. It was bolstered by the fact that I read 31 books in August.

Why was it so good? Well my Goodreads goal for the year was 30 books, and I read 82 books this year.

I have accomplished a thing! Huzzah!

This is actually pretty great for me, given that I usually set the goal pretty high for a casual reader and then I fail. Horribly.

So without further ado, I present to you my stats for 2020!

As you can see, the majority of my books are fantasy reads (64 of them). This should surprise absolutely no one. That I read so many young adult books surprised me, since I really just started to get into that genre in the later part of this year. I mean really, 20 YA books? And that sci-fi is next with 10 books really isn’t a shock to me. Fantasy and sci-fi are my jams. What this does tell me is that I need to read more sci-fi though. Good thing to work on for 2021.

With the amount of fantasy and sci-fi I read, that I read 78 adventurous books doesn’t come to much of a surprise to me. Mysterious, however, does. I didn’t think that I read a lot of mysterious books this year, but apparently I read 19 of them, so that is interesting.

29,391 pages read. That’s a lot of pages. Thankfully, I avoided papercuts this year. Goodreads says that my average book length was 366 pages, and that sound about right.

Again, I’m not very surprised by these stats. 95% of the books I read this August fell around 350 pages long, which is why I picked those books to read.

Look at those pace stats. I am surprised by those. I was convinced I didn’t like slow books, but apparently I read 28 slow paced books this year. Huh.

My average rating was 4.06? I thought that number would be lower. I didn’t know I had so many 5 star reads. I do know some of those were re-reads. So they had already been ranked before. But still, 30 5 stars seems a little high.

I only read 2 non fiction books last year. That is too low a number. Must read more informative books!

And there you have it, my end of the year stats. What do yours look like? Have you tried Storygraph?

My Favorite Reads of 2020

Happy New Years everyone! Did you have a good evening of safe, stay at home, fun? In a move that should shock no one, I stayed home, watched Star Wars, and played Animal Crossing.

All night.

It was wonderful.

But you aren’t here for my New Years adventures (or lack thereof), you are here for the books! Without further ado, I present to you my top 8 books of 2020!

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

A retelling of Sherlock Holmes if Holmes was a woman and a sorceress. Oh, and did I mention the queer romance? I loved this book to the point that I despaired when it was done because there wasn’t more. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because I couldn’t give it 7 stars.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

A mysterious plague of lives never lived sweeps the Earth. This book put me through it. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Patricia’s life was normal, until the vampire moved in down the street. I loved this book. My book club loved this book. It’s a really great book. 5 out of 5 stars!

Hyperbole and Half by Allie Brosh

It’s a graphic novel of a web-toon based on the authors life. She details her childhood, her struggles with depression, and her fight with a goose. I might have lol’d a few times. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever but everyone she meets forgets her. 300 years later, someone finally remembers her. I cannot say enough about this book. I loved how it ended. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is exactly what it say in the title, the story of Santa told from his point of view. It was so wholesome and heartwarming. It definitely gave me the warm fuzzies. 5 out of 5 stars.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Imagine a world were a hero failed to defeat the darkness. And then that darkness reigned for 1000 years. The hubs loves this book and has been trying to get me to read for forever. I finally did it and I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Humans have conquered space flight, and Adriene O’Neill is documenting her work as one of those travelers. But what has happened to the world left behind while they are gone? I only gave this book 4 stars, but the ending to this novella really stuck with me even now. I had to add it to this list.

What were your favorite reads of 2020?

Books I Did Not Finish in 2020

Let’s be honest, 2020 hasn’t been the best year. It also has had some bad books in it, at least for me anyway. Since I have a few books in my DNF bag I thought I would share them with you.

You know, so you can suffer with me.

Mostly Dead Things by Kristen Arnett

This is a dark comedy about a woman who takes over her fathers taxidermy business after his suicide. She also happens to be in love with her brother’s wife. I just didn’t like this story at all. There was nothing like-able about any of the characters, which I think was kinda the point, but still. It just didn’t click with me at all. I got 25% of the way through this one and tried to yeet it off my Kindle.

And yes, I just used the word yeet. Don’t @ me.

Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne

What happens when the chosen one is nothing like what you would expect? And also a talking goat. I tried to read this one, I really did. It was billed as being like Monty Python. It’s not. it’s not even a little bit like it. Which is fine. But it still wasn’t funny. My husband read it first and he didn’t find it funny either. He finished it (barely), I didn’t.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

A sci-fi story about an interstellar singing competition where the fate of Earth hangs in the balance? What’s not to love? Apparently, all of it. I just didn’t like the way this book was written. It felt like a hyperactive child who got given to much sugar right before going to bed and then wouldn’t go to sleep.

Too harsh?

A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

An average guy finds out he has a new job. As Death. Supposed to be humorous. I found it lacking to the point where I gave up after 50 pages. I know, some of you will say I should have given it more of a chance, but I just couldn’t.

The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg

Two transgendered persons wander out into the desert. One wants to learn the last of the great weaves, one wants their name. What they get is much different. I just didn’t enjoy this book. I put it down and didn’t want to pick it back up. Though I may pick it up again.

The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin

A widow gets taken on a ride through the space-time continuum by an alien race known as the Lost. I really wanted to like this one. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with this book and it fell flat for me. I DNF’d this one very early on. Like, 25 pages in.

Dune by Frank Herbert

The story of Paul Atreides and his time on Arrakis just didn’t connect with me. I have come to the conclusion that it is the authors writing style that I don’t gel with. I’ve tried to read this book once before, and I didn’t connect with it then either. Maybe this book just isn’t for me.

What are the were the most disappointing books for you this year?

2020 Review Round Up

So no one asked for this, but I thought I’d do it anyway!

Especially since I haven’t reviewed all that many books this year.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This was the first book I reviewed in 2020. I loved it. A fun, quirky retelling of Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock was female…and a sorceress. I gave this book 5 stars.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Imagine the ancient Greek gods are alive and well in modern London. Now imagine they are just as terrible now as they were in ancient Greece. This book was just a solid meh. 3 stars.

Spy, Spy Again by Mercedes Lackey

A book with magic, demons, spies, and assassins? This Heralds of Valdemar book got 4 stars from me on Goodreads, though that may have been due to nostalgia. But still, 4 stars!

Thin Air by Lisa Gray

In this Jessica Shaw thriller, Jessica, a PI, heads to California to investigate why a photo of a missing person at three years old looks like her. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but because I listened to the audiobook, well, just read the review.

Faith publish by Valiant Comics, written by Jody Hauser

Faith is a Trade Paper back of the first few issues of the Faith comic book which centers around a plus sized superhero. I really wanted to like this alot. But I ended up with solid meh feelings about it. 3 stars from me.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

This is the story of Bree, a high schooler, who after a personal tragedy, stumbles across the Legendborn at the college she is attending. I enjoyed this book. I gave it a 3.75 out of 5 stars.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The story of two black sisters who grow up in the Jim Crow south, this story focuses on a lot of heavy themes, and it does it really, really well. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A dragon is set to rise after a thousand years, and it wants to destroy the world. Can Queen Sabran survive her court long enough to stop it? This book was interesting, and a little to heavy on the political side for me. 3.75 out of 5 stars.

A Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

A new neighbor moves in. Patricia just has to convince the rest of her book club that he is, in fact, a vampire. To say I loved this book is an understatement. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

This is the story of Yadriel, a transgendered teen who just wants to prove to his family that he can be a real brujo. He never really counted on summoning Julien. This book was such a fun read. I gave it 4 stars.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Addie makes a Faustian bargain to live forever, as a result, everyone forgets her. Until one days, someone remembers her. I cannot stop raving about this book. For sure my favorite of the year. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is the story of Santa Claus. No really. It says so on the cover. This book was so heart warming and cute. I will be reading this every Christmas, for sure. 5 out of 5 stars.