October 2019 TBR | Reading the Most-Hyped Thrillers of the Year

October is almost here! Bring on the spooky décor, costume parties, and THRILLERS 😊 I’ve had a great start to fall so far and am super excited for Halloween and the holiday season coming up. In October, I definitely will be getting my thriller fix when it comes to reading, as my plan is to read some of the most-hyped thrillers that have come out this year!

In preparation for this TBR, I went onto Goodreads and made an Excel list of all of the thrillers I can think of with their respective ratings and number of ratings. Because I want to read the most-hyped books, I ordered them in order of NUMBER of ratings so that I know these have been the most-read out of all thrillers I could find or think of.

Most of these books I am planning on checking out from my library or listening to on Scribd – because of that, I’m not 100% sure which books I’ll have access to at any given time during the month, so my goal is to read 7 of the 10 listed below.

And lastly before getting into it, because these are all thriller/mystery books, I want to go into reading them without much knowledge of the plot so that I can be fully surprised by all of the twists and turns. Because of that, I don’t have any sort of synopsis to share for any of them! All I know is that lots of people have read and enjoyed them 😊

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

134,155 Ratings

4.05 Average Rating

Verity by Colleen Hoover

57,836 Ratings

4.38 Average Rating

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

57,621 Ratings

3.85 Average Rating

Recursion by Blake Crouch

29,581 Ratings

4.22 Average Rating

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

28,937 Ratings

3.93 Average Rating

The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

24,042 Ratings

4.03 Average Rating

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

23,657 Ratings

3.98 Average Rating

Run Away by Harlan Coben

23,000 Ratings

4.08 Average Rating

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

21,627 Ratings

4.03 Average Rating

Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson

19,100 Ratings

3.84 Average Rating

If you love thrillers… PLEASE let me know which ones of these you have read and what has been your favorite! Also, let me know if there are any thrillers you think are missing from my list 🙂

Happy reading!


Contemporaryathon TBR | September 2019

Well, well… better late than never when it comes to planning a readathon TBR, am I right? I’ve decided to partake in this month’s round of Contemporaryathon (a week-long readathon hosted by I think 4 different Booktubers) mainly because I can fit the challenges in with a few books I’m already planning to read by the end of this month!

Contemporaryathon starts TODAY and goes through this Sunday, September 29th. Still time to join in if you’re interested! Here is a link to one of the announcement videos, in which you can go deeper into the challenges, get some recommendations, and be linked to the three other co-hosts.

Contemporaryathon Round 5 Challenges

  1. Read a 2019 release
  2. Read a book with yellow on the cover
  3. Read a book that is diverse from your own experiences
  4. Read a book with an illustrated cover
  5. Read a book with a dark or hard-hitting storyline
  6. Read a book with plants on the cover
  7. Read a book that is beloved by someone in the book community (plus shout them out!)

The rules of this readathon are pretty relaxed – the only real requirement is to read “contemporary” books, which in itself can even be up for interpretation – but essentially any book without any speculative or fantastical elements. You can choose to follow none or all of the challenges, and you are free to double- (or triple- or quadruple-…) up on challenges if you find books that hit multiple!

My Contemporaryathon TBR

I’m choosing to keep my TBR fairly attainable this week with 3 books. I did manage to get these to cover all 7 challenges, thanks to one book that actually hits 4 of them. See below for the books I chose and what challenges they each fulfill!

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

This book was recommended and lent to me by my mother-in-law, which is a big reason I’m trying to prioritize it. Nothing I hate more than borrowing something from someone and accidentally never returning it!

Challenges Covered:
2 – Read a book with yellow on the cover
5 – Read a book with a dark or hard-hitting storyline – I believe this book is all about a school shooting – a highly sensitive topic that I’m sure will be VERY hard-hitting and emotional. I wouldn’t be surprised if I shed a few tears…


One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

On top of helping me fulfill one last contemporaryathon challenge, this book will also round out my goal to read all of TJR’s books. Be on the look out for a post likely early next year ranking all of them!

Challenges Covered:
6 – Read a book with plants on the cover


Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I was not originally planning on reading this book this month… but things just kind of worked out – it fulfills 4 readathon challenges, was available immediately at my library, and WAS on my someday TBR – so I’m glad to knock it out!

Challenges Covered:
1 – Read a 2019 release
3 – Read a book that is diverse from your own experiences – this book features a male-male romance. Not only is that not something that I have experienced in my life (obviously, as a woman), but it’s also not something I think I’ve ever read in a book before!
4 – Read a book with an illustrated cover
7 – Read a book that is beloved by someone in the book community – This is extra fitting as this book is HIGHLY beloved by ChelseaDollingreads, one of my favorite Booktubers, one of the hosts of this readathon, and who I would consider to be one of the biggest consumers of the contemporary genre – if she recommends a contemporary, I expect it to be one of the best of its genre!


That’s it – like I said, keeping it reasonable this week! I’d love to know if you’re participating in Contemporaryathon this round and what you’re reading – if you’re not, let me know what you’re planning on reading the rest of September regardless!


September TBR: Catching Up on my Physical TBR

Hello, September! And with that, hello FALL!

I have many reasons to be excited for fall this year – we live in a new state that should (hopefully) be warmer than the North Dakota/Minnesota falls I’m used to (glorified winters), I’m planning on attending LOTS of football games ranging from middle-school level all the way up to a couple of NFL games, and best of all, we’re having a baby around the end of November/early December!!

With all of this busy-ness happening in real life, I’m finding myself with much less time to devote to reading, and I don’t want to commit to a bunch of new books within a fun theme that I’ll inevitably fail to read and then feel indebted to for months to come (foreshadowing August’s wrap-up a little bit…)

So instead, I’m committing to September as a catch-up month for my physical TBR. Here’s a list of 12 books that I own physically and are my highest priority to finally get to. Some of them you may recognize from past TBRs, some are newish to me and I’m too excited to wait to get to, and some I have been pushing off but I really just need to finish them off. Let me know if you have a backlist of TBR books you’re still hoping to get to this year, and if any of you are joining me in making September a catch-up month!

Bonus – for the next 3-ish days, Jana at Reviews from the Stacks is running a giveaway on her blog to celebrate hitting her Goodreads reading goal! Definitely give her blog some love and enter the giveaway by commenting on her post here if you’re interested in winning a gift card!


My one ARC

Appalachain Book of the Dead by Dale Neal

Why I want to read it: This book comes out on September 3rd, and as usual with ARCS I’d love to get a review out on Goodreads and Amazon on or before that date. I’ve started this book already and have about 190 pages left – my opinion is still very much up in the air!

Brief Summary: This is a fictional book that’s been described as a “metaphysical thriller,” following many characters in the middle of nowhere questioning the location of a killer on the loose.

Books that have been on my bookshelf for FAR too long

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Why I want to read it: This is a book that has been recommended to me many times by my husband. It’s a hefty book based on sports, but I’m optimistic and excited to finally get into it.

Brief Summary: This fictional story follows members of a collegiate baseball team and other members of the college as their lives entertwine throughout the baseball season.

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Why I want to read it: Leftover from my July (Reading Rush) TBR, this is one book I’m surprised I haven’t read yet. I read and enjoyed Outliers and am sure this one by Malcolm Gladwell will be worthwhile.

Brief Summary: This nonfiction book centers around the magical moment when a small idea or behavior crosses a threshold and becomes a massive phenomenon – how we can recognize that point and use it to our advantage in personal and business settings.

Hatchet by Gary Paulson

Why I want to read it: As did probably everyone else, I read this book in middle school and have very fond memories. I’d love to reread this one since it’ll be a short, easy read.

Brief Summary: Brian is a young boy and the sole passenger on a small plane when the pilot has a heart attack and the plane crashes. Suddenly Brian finds himself completely alone in the woods with nothing but a hatchet to survive.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Why I want to read it: I bought this one last year as a recommendation from one of my favorite lifestyle/family bloggers, Jordan Page. Hoping it’s not too problematic and actually offers some good marriage advice.

Brief Summary: This nonfiction book suggests that wives play a huge role in ensuring a successful marriage and offers the advice needed to nurture and feed their husbands accordingly.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Why I want to read it: I bought this one on a whim from Barnes & Noble a while ago and it’s been taunting me from my shelves ever since. I have consistently found other books to knock it out of my priority list, but finally getting this one read will feel like a big accomplishment.

Brief Summary: I don’t know much about the plot of this book and actually don’t want to – but I believe it follows several different adults, couples, and families and how their lives entertwine.

A couple of thrillers by an author I’m dying to get to

Final Girls by Riley Sager

Why I want to read it: I haven’t read any Riley Sager yet, but obviously the bookternet loves his thrillers. I’m very excited to give this debut novel a try and make my way through all of his books!

Brief Summary: All that I really know about this one is that it centers around the idea of the “final girls” or sole survivors of horror movies.

The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Why I want to read it: Ditto. I’m also excited because both of these books are on Scribd, so could be easy audiobooks to squeeze in.

Brief Summary: Again, I know nothing about the plot of this book and would love to keep it that way!

August books I just didn’t get to

Golden State by Ben Winters

Why I want to read it: Plain and simple, this book looks right up my alley and I’m expecting to love it!

Brief Summary: This book is a science-fiction, alternate reality story based in a California-like society.

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins

Why I want to read it: Started this one, really liked the intro and the format the book takes, very interested to see what other points it makes.

Brief Summary: This nonfiction book studies quirk theory, or the reason why some individuals are outcasted in school settings but just may be more set up for success in the future.

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Why I want to read it: No strong pull to the story itself, but I’m very interested in this non-Harry-Potter JK Rowling read.

Brief Summary: This mystery/thriller is about a mysterious death in a small town – classic.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Why I want to read it: Fantasy is very outside of my comfort zone, so that’s why this one has been slipping for me. Not sure if I’ll end up loving it or hating it, but I’m willing to give it a try!

Brief Summary: I believe this is some sort of Romeo and Juliet-inspired fantasy story.


Bullet Journal Setup | 2019 Reading Trackers

I have always loved all things stationery – notebooks, planners, and lately looking at beautiful bullet journal spreads all over Pinterest and Instagram. I wanted to start one myself to have a place to keep my reading information that isn’t just an Excel spreadsheet – though we all know how much I love my spreadsheets, too.

At first I thought I’d wait to start a reading bullet journal until 2020, but then I figured there was no harm in trying it out yet this year – this way I can test out different trackers and art styles and hopefully have a few more skills come January!

It may not be much yet, but I wanted to share my first few spreads in the bullet journal. I have it updated through July and plan on keeping it updated throughout the rest of this year, possibly adding more spreads if I feel like something else is missing!

Spread 1: 2019 At-A-Glance

This first spread is something I see at the start of most bullet journals online – a very basic overview of the entire year. I think this is helpful to have as a reference to check dates and as a beginning to the bullet journal to indicate that it is for the 2019 calendar year.

Spread 2: 2019 Reading Challenge and Page Tracker

On this second spread I decided to test the waters on my illustration skills. I saw a bookshelf spread somewhere online and decided to modify it to track my progress against my new 2019 reading goal of 100 books. Each month has a designated color, and at the end of the month I will color in the number of books I completed that month. Hopefully by the end of the year all of the books will be colored in!

On the right side you’ll see my version of a page tracker. This helps me see with a quick glance how many days out of the year I have been reading. I wanted to try to incorporate a gradient system so that the darker the block is, the more pages I read that day. I don’t think this system is quite perfect, but I think it still looks aesthetically pleasing.

Spread 3: 2019 Reading Statistics

I love tracking reading statistics every month and throughout the year to see if I am favoring any genres in particular or what other trends emerge. This page is an easy way for me to keep a tally and make those comparisons without having to go into my spreadsheet and count everything up. If you’re also a statistics lover, take a look at my Mid-Year Reading Summary post for some pretty graphs with a lot of the same information!

At this point you may notice that I do not have any sort of over-arching theme for my bullet journal. I really wanted to focus on getting used to the materials, color combinations, and different writing/illustrating styles before committing to just one.

Spread 4: 2019 Books Completed

And lastly, my fourth spread is simply a list of all of the books I have completed so far this year. The spreadsheet I keep on my computer lists out each book’s genre, number of pages, Goodreads rating, and more – but this is a quick reference just to see the titles, authors, and dates completed.


That’s all I have so far – safe to say I’m already hooked. I didn’t want to overwhelm myself with monthly spreads and trackers yet, because I think that functionality and practice are the two main goals for the rest of this year when it comes to bullet journaling.

BUT! I would LOVE to see any reading trackers or beautiful spreads you have done or have seen – please leave me links to check out for inspiration and for me to connect with different people as I start this fun new hobby!


August TBR: 99 Cent Books

I’ve had the idea for a while to start doing themed TBRs every month… and while I don’t want to give away what that means for the future, I can say that this month is the start of that – and what better thing for books to have in common than being really, really cheap?

While searching Alibris (one of my favorite book-buying sites) for books on my “someday” TBR, I found that a large number of them cost only 99 cents – typically it’s because the book has been well-loved by a library or other previous owner, so the books are by no means in mint condition – nor are they brand-new releases. But I don’t mind small wear and tear at all – I actually really like giving books a new home and second (or third, or fourth) life!

Full disclosure, once shipping is added these books cost more than 99 cents each – but the good news is that the more I buy from the same seller, the less each book’s shipping costs end up being. This haul ended up costing me about $4 to $5 per book, which I would still consider extremely affordable.

Also, I know there is some controversy over used books and whether we should be buying old copies when we can afford new, full-priced books and support the author with the purchase. Although I see both sides of the argument, ultimately I think reusing and recycling things does good for our planet. So I’m happy with buying a mix of brand-new books, which I buy to support the authors, and used books, which I buy to give a second life.

With ALL that being said, time to get into the TBR. Below are 8 books that I’m planning to read in August, all of which were purchased online for 99 cents!

A Contemporary

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (2012)

A Classic

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (1938)

A Classic Retelling

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye (2016)

A Dystopia

Gone by Michael Grant (2008)

A Fantasy

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (2011)

A Miscellaneous Nonfiction

The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robins (2009)

A Science Fiction

Golden State by Ben Witners (2019)

A Thriller/Mystery

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling (2012)


Many of these are out of my comfort zone or were purchased on somewhat of a whim, so I would LOVE to know if you’ve read any of the books above and what you thought!


July 2019 TBR: The Reading Rush Readathon

Hello, July! I cannot believe we’re officially halfway through 2019! So far this year has been crazy busy with a lot of life changes, but I’m happy that I’ve continued to make reading a priority throughout it all. And at this exact moment, I’m feeling super motivated! So my July TBR is pretty ambitious, but I’d really like to knock a bunch of books off of my TBR… so that I can buy more, of course 😊

I recently have become familiar with the Reading Rush readathon, formerly called BooktubeAthon. I read all about the rules and challenges HERE and now I can’t wait to participate! While this readathon technically takes place on July 22nd-28th, I thought it would be fun to create my entire July TBR based on this readathon’s challenges. (And any of you who are sticklers for rules, don’t worry – I will only submit books that I read during that week to the official readathon page. Any books I read outside of that week are for my satisfaction only!!)

Below are the 7 reading challenges for this readathon. I tried to find at least 2 books on my physical TBR shelf to fit each challenge and will be picking from this master list throughout the month. I think I will leave myself the shortest book(s) in each category to read during the ACTUAL readathon week, because I’d like to complete the additional challenge of reading 7 books in total!

Challenge 1: Read a book with purple on the cover

This challenge was pretty easy, and I actually had three books come to mind almost immediately:

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
  • Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Challenge 2: Read a book in the same spot the entire time

This challenge is a little different in that it doesn’t matter WHAT book I pick, it just matters WHERE I read it! I think I will likely complete this challenge either in my car (with an audiobook) or on an airplane, as I will be traveling a couple of times this month. So the books I selected are just books that I’d love to complete this month that don’t fit into any of the other challenges:

  • Maxed Out by Katrina Alcorn
  • Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Challenge 3: Read a book you meant to read last year

I distinctly remember writing both of these book titles down last year and buying them after hearing an executive of my company mention their greatness, buuut I hadn’t gotten around to actually reading them.

  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins

Challenge 4: Read an author’s first book

As far as I could find, both of these were the first books written by these authors – if anyone knows differently, please do let me know so I can be accurate here!

  • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
  • Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Challenge 5: Read a book with a non-human main character

This was probably the toughest challenge for me as I don’t usually read fantasy, and I’ve read all of my sci fi books that might fit the prompt. But alas, I found two that I’m pretty sure count!

  • The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Challenge 6: Pick a book that has five or more words in the title

And then, conversely, this challenge was the easiest for me to find several books that qualify!

  • The Science of Harry Potter by Mark Brake and Jon Chase
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey
  • The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
  • How to Disappear Completely and Never be Found by Sara Nickerson

Challenge 7: Read and watch a book to movie adaptation

I know that a lot of the books I’ve already mentioned actually have movie adaptations and I COULD double up on challenges, but instead I found two more books that I haven’t listed and would be really glad to get to!

  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

18 books in total! Will I get to all of them this month? No, definitely not. But I like my chances of sticking to this list in general, with a variety of genres and book lengths to keep me motivated and on track.

Let me know if you plan on participating in this readathon – what books are you reading, and do you have any suggestions for some of the prompts?


June 2019 TBR

For months that I create a TBR for myself, I currently have a 50% success rate. The one where I did follow the whole TBR was a month with a readathon, which I think had something to do with keeping my motivation up and also enough rules/structure to feel like I had to follow through. Maybe this month will be the same!

This month is the next round of Buzzwordathon, a readathon hosted by booktuber Booksandlala. This round, her chosen buzzword is “you.” After a quick search through my bookshelves, I found 4 books that I have not read that have “you” in the title. Much more manageable than the 7 I tackled last round of this readathon 🙂

Below is my TBR for the month, with the readathon books plus a few I want to get to that won’t be during Buzzwordathon!

Readathon Books

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (contemporary) – I believe I have read this book before in my life, but it’s been several years. Very short and I remember it being pretty inspirational, so I’d like to knock it out again!

I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This by Kate White (female nonfiction) – a girlboss book that claims to tell women all of the secrets men don’t want them to know when it comes to being successful and rising to the top of a business.

Do You Realize? by Kevin A. Kuhn (science fiction) – picked this one up as part of my Bookstore Scavenger Hunt challenge and am super excited to read it! I haven’t seen anyone mention it before but the premise looks right up my alley: a middle-aged man stuck in a rut is selected to beta test an app that allows him to journey through alternate versions of his past.

How Lucky You Can Be by Buster Olney (sports) – really don’t know anything about this book – it’s my husband’s book and is only on our shelves because it’s sports-related. But I definitely am willing to try new genres and can’t think of a better time to try the sports category!

Non-Readathon Books

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (classic) – I’ve been meaning to read this one for a veryyy long time. I’ve heard many people say it’s their favorite book or favorite classic of all time, and also I’ve seen a few retellings (Jane Steele) that look really interesting to me – but I want to read the original first!

Scythe by Neal Schusterman (dystopia) – So many people rave about this book and I LOVE dystopias, so I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to pick it up. No more, even if it doesn’t fit in this month’s readathon I’m determined to get to it!

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris (thriller) – in April I read my second 5-star read from B.A. Paris. Since I already own another one by her, and since I don’t have any other thrillers on my TBR, I really want to read this one and hopefully love it as much as the others!

What’s on your TBR this month? Let me know if you’re participating in any readathons or if you prefer to read whatever speaks to you in that particular moment. I’m still figuring out exactly what my preference is 🙂