Latest Posts

Review: The Philosopher’s Flight

PhilosophersThe Stats

Title: The Philosopher’s Flight

Author: Tom Miller

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (February 13, 2018)

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Feminist Literature

Trigger Warnings: Sexism, Sexual Language

I received this The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller as a part of my Book of the Month club for February.

The Review

Robert Weekes always dreamed of joining the US Sigilery Corps’ Rescue and Evacuation Department. The only problem is, he would be the first male to ever attempt the feat. Determined to master empirical philosophy, a female-dominated branch of science, Weekes heads off to the all-girls Radcliffe college in Boston. When Robert arrives he learns he isn’t the only male at the school, but the only one with any raw ability for philosophy. With the help of his friends, Weekes battles sexist stereotypes to survive his Contingency year and to prove that he is worthy of (literally) flying with the best of the sigilwomen. With the Great War ramping up, the only thing that could potentially get in Robert’s way is the Trenchers, an extremist anti-philosophical group that finds empirical philosophy no different than witchcraft in the eyes of the lord.

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller was the feminist novel every man needs to read. A less defensive, and radical, The Power (by Namoi Alderman), The Philosopher’s Flight did an incredible job of depicting the social injustice women had to endure to attempt to break into male-dominated fields. Written in the perspective of Robert Weekes, a male who wanted more than anything to fly (yes in the air like a bird) with the sigilwomen of Rescue and Evacuation, Miller created empathy through role-reversal. Something I felt Namoi attempted by including Tunde’s perspective but failed as it tended to ignite anger instead of empathy by its critics.

As The Philosopher’s Flight was the third book I have read this year regarding the Great War (aka World War II), I was thrilled to have some of the historical details mixed around to accommodate the fantasy aspect of the novel. Instead of women gaining the right to vote in 1920, women received the right to vote under Abraham Lincoln as a thank you for helping the Union win the war. Instead, suffragettes were fighting for their right practice empirical philosophy. This changed also allowed women to be elected seats in the House and Senate earlier. There also was no mention of prohibition. Although not pertinent to the storyline, one can assume that this resulted from the distraction the Zoning act provided to the female Trenchers (conservative, elderly women) that would have advocated for prohibition in our universe.

Overall, I gave The Philosopher’s Flight 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. The story was captivating and Robert was a character you wanted to cheer for. I could tell this was meant to be more for YA as the writing was not as strong as I had hoped based on the content. This could have been because I did read Little Fires Everywhere last, and Celeste Ng did a phenomenal job. However, it also had to do with the number of conversational paragraphs used. And because I still don’t understand the benefit of making the head dean of Radcliffe’s sigilry completely bonkers. I believed the Hens vs. Cocks provided enough comic relief that we did not need anymore. I would recommend this novel to teenagers of any gender. Those of a younger age (11/12) would often be okay but I advise reading the novel before as they may need to have a discussion afterward to determine if they fully grasp the concept and to determine if they can handle the language.

That kind of miracle is the most common thing in the world to my daughter, who was born down here in Matamoros in 1930, two miles from the Mexican border, raised among malcontents and renegades, women (and a few men, like myself) who were made outlaws in the United States. all of us are empirical philosophers, or sigilrists if you prefer the common term And what is empirical philosophy – what is sigilry – except a branch of science we don’t yet fully understand?

The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller

Review: Little Fires Everywhere

LFEThe Stats

Title: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Publisher: Penguin Press; 1st Edition edition (September 12, 2017)

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary Fiction, Family Life

Trigger Warnings: Abortion, Privilege

The Review

Shaker Heights, Ohio is known for being perfectly planned and progressively liberal. Elena Richardson, a third generation Shaker, has spent her entire life embodying the spirit of Shaker Heights. Working mother of four married her college sweetheart, Elena life is as planned as the town.  That is until artist Mia Warren, and her daughter Pearl moved into the subsidized rental property for those Elena deemed “worthy” of Shaker’s gifts. When Pearl befriends Elena’s children, Elena decides to extend an olive branch out to Mia by offering her the job as their housekeeper. It is not long though before Elena’s childhood best friend ends up in a nasty custody battle over the Chinese American baby they adopted. Elena suspects Mia had something do with it embarks on uncovering the mystery revolving her tenant’s past.

Boy has this past month been insane! Moving has been super stressful, and my new job requires me to work twelve hours Monday through Thursday. Thankfully, I have been able to relax a little bit and finally knock out one of the books I have been meaning to read for a while. I received Little Fires Everywhere as a Christmas gift from my friend J, and I have been moving it around in my overnight bag since.

Little Fires Everywhere lived up to its expectations. Celeste Ng’s writing was perfection. I was captivated by the fellow Wolverine’s ability to paint her words as an art form. Always in the third person, Ng jumps from perspective to perspective – often within the same chapter- with an ease that is difficult to achieve. I was never lost nor confused on the direction the story was headed. Although it was a tad slow in the beginning, once the custody battle began the novel jumped into hyper speed. I could not put it down.

While Little Fires Everywhere takes place during the Clinton administration, Ng tackled several difficult topics that were often “hidden” during the time. While the novel often explored the dichotomy between wealthy and poor, the heavier discussion involved around the adoption of a Chinese American baby. Specifically, the ethics of a child being raised away from her home culture to white parents. Parent’s who would not be able to prepare their child from the systematic racism Shaker Heights was ignorant to believe existed.

Overall, I gave Little Fires Everywhere 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. All of the characters were relatable and easy to connect with. Mia was my favorite with Izzy being a close second. I could relate to their outcasted lifestyles and artistic drive. I was glad that I had read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race before sinking into Little Fires Everywhere. I highly suggest that others do the same, or at least read Why I’m… directly after reading Little Fires Everywhere. Reni Endo-Lodge’s work provided me with an outside perspective regarding the custody battle I do not believe I could have had without it.

Connect with me!

Instagram: @byairandland

Twitter: byairandland


Bloggers Note: Personal Update

Hello Fellow Bloggers!

As you may have noticed, I have not been as active as I normally am these last couple of weeks (posting every four days instead of every-other-day). Now that it has been announced to my team, I can finally fill you in. When I was hired into my full-time position, it was always the plan that I would be hired on temporarily, then transferred to one of our other locations. What started as a six-month position, slowly turned into a year.

Eventually, I received my own program to work on, and a promotion, and thought maybe this job would become more permanent. I began looking for my own place to live in the area. Since I didn’t know when I was going to have to move, I had been living out of suitcase between my parent’s house and my partner G’s house. This took a major toll on me mentally, since instead of feeling at “home” I felt as if I was trapped in a never-ending stay at the hotel. However, when I informed my major that I was looking for a place to call my own, her response was that it seemed like I was going to be transferred before April – it was late October when this exchange occurred.

Finally, the last week of January, I got the okay to begin to apply to other locations. The beginning of February began an onslaught of job interviews. On the 16th of February, I had finally received a new job offer, at a location I was excited to move too. Since then, I began apartment hunting, furniture shopping, trying to find time to get my runs in; and, to top it all off, my current program is about to hit a major milestone on Monday. I have been insanely busy and, unfortunately, my blog was the area that suffered.

I wanted to let you all know what is going on because the rest of March may be the same way. I am moving into my new apartment this weekend. The weekend after is my 24th Birthday on the 9th and then my last half marathon of the Winter Warrior series on the 11th. I will start my new full-time position on the 19th, however, I will be driving the hour and a half between my current office and the new location for training over the next two weeks. I ask for y’all’s forgiveness of my absence as I begin transitioning into this new and exciting period of my life. Come April, I should be back and stronger than ever.

Thank y’all and have a rockin’ weekend!

Shelby – byairandland

Marathon Monday: Icecube Half

The second installation of the Winter Warrior Series was on the 18th of February. I was looking forward to it as the weekend before I completely slacked off of my training. Most of this had to do with the fact that I was supposed to go on vacation to San Antonio; but instead, Michigan ended up with 14inches of snow and I was able to cancel my flight since I couldn’t even drive safely to the airport (I was able to get a full refund #ThankYouDelta). Now that the snow was almost completely melted, it appeared to be another great weekend for a half marathon. Once again, the forecast was calling for 40 degree and sunny weather. I do not know how we got so lucky to have two amazing weather days in January/February but I was not complaining. This time, I was driving up to CMU with one goal in mind, to finally get a new PR.

As we ran on the same course as last time, I knew where the water stations were and where the hills were located. I came with a pacing plan (the first in any of my races), and I was not going to wear my hydration pack to limit the amount of weight weighing me down (another first). My previous PR was a 02:14:38 and I ran that in the Motor City Half Marathon on August 21, 2016. My goal was to run a 02:10:00, which meant I needed to run 09:55min/mile.

DSC_0580Like with the previous race, I drove up the night before to stay at a hotel. This time, I didn’t arrive until 6:30pm as I got lunch with a longtime friend and then cleaned my bathroom since I wanted to make sure when I got home I could take a long soak in the tub. As I mentioned in the previous week, for the IceCube Half we were to receive a pint glass and mittens with this race. Once again, the pint glass was surprisingly great quality. The mittens, I don’t think I would necessarily wear as they are not racing mittens, but they are perfect to add to my emergency-snow car pack.

At around 07:00pm, I checked into my Marriott. I recently caved and got the Marriott Visa Card, this automatically bummed me up to Silver Elite Status. I was excited to see what new perks I got with Silver Elite, but there was really nothing too different compared to being only Elite. So, I spent the rest of the evening catching up with blog posts and reading. At 11:00pm, I headed to bed.

IMG_1249I woke up at 07:00am and really did not want to run. I was still in a funk and wasn’t feeling as motivated at all. I even laid in bed for 40 minutes contemplating if I even wanted to run or if I wanted to spend some quality time in the hotel room. Most of you know I have had a pretty hectic February (why I haven’t been posting as much lately) and the idea of chilling in a hotel room by myself seemed like perfect mental health break. Instead, at 8:20, I gathered my strength, packed up my car, and headed to the start line.

At the start of the race, I was beginning to freak out because my Garmin was not connecting to the GPS fast enough. I was fully prepared to wait well past the starting gun before bothering crossing the line. Thankfully, two minutes before the start, my GPS finally connected and I was off.

IMG_1251Sticking to my plan, my first 4 miles I all tried to stay around the 10:00 mile time. I did a pretty great job at maintaining it running a 9:55,10:02, 9:52, and 10:19 respectively. My first walk break was at the 10K turn around point (aka mile three). This was also where they snapped the half marathon photos. I knew I was booking it though because this time, I almost made it to the photographer for the 5K photos before she packed up and drove to the 10K and half marathon location.

After the fourth mile, I cranked my pace up to a 09:30min marathon pace, for miles 5, 6, and 7 with a slight walk break in the 7th mile. Miles 5 and 6 were almost spot on with a 9:38 and 9:39 respectively. The 7th mile, with the walk break, came in around 10:26. Not ideal, but I desperately needed a little rest, so I popped a Gu as well for some added energy. Miles 8 and 9, I then cracked up my pace more, aiming for 9:00min miles. I was happy to see that they ended up being 9:19 and 9:11 respectively. This is when things started to get difficult. Like with the last half, after mile 8 my feet started to kill. This time, thankfully, it was only for an external issue.

I do not know how many of you have grown up on dirt roads like me. But, when the weather begins to warm up, to prevent the entire street from becoming mud; the street grates and distributes gravel all over those roads to attempt to harden them up. If you have ever walked barefoot over gravel, that is exactly how running on gravel feels. My shoes could barely protect my poor little feet from the blisters they were about to get. That was when I came up with a plan. I knew miles eleven and twelve were on pavement so, instead of walking in mile 11, I decided to walk early in mile 10 so that I could save my feet some of the pain. This resulted in a 9:42 time, higher than the 9:00 I was hoping to get, but it really paid off come twelveth mile.

Mile eleven was a huge struggle, thankfully, there were two other people pushing me along. I would have slowed down a lot more if it was not for these two. I ended up maintaining the 9:48 pace, so I was at least under the 09:55 I knew I needed to maintain. Then, I got to mile twelve, and my adrenaline kicked in. I already knew I was going to make my PR. Normally, I hit two hours right around the ten-mile marker; but this time, at the ten-mile marker, I was at an hour and thirty minutes. It only started to feel real at mile twelve though. I kicked up my pace, completely passing the two people that were keeping me motivated at this point. As I passed my hotel, I could see the finish line banner and I began to cry. I was so ecstatic at this moment. Going from debating about running today, to breaking my PR and finishing at 02:06:16 are the moments I live for.


To make it even better, this time I finished early enough to even pick up the “trophy” for this week for being third in my age group. It ended up being an ice scraper with the logo on it! I also talked to the race planners about possibly getting my third place t-shirt from the Snowmans race at the Muddog. They recorded my name and said they think it is possible!

Happy Running! 🙂


icecube half


Review: Dark Matter

51yRIVigTYLThe Stats

Title: Dark Matter

Author: Blake Crouch

Publisher: Crown; 1St Edition edition (July 26, 2016)

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Science Fiction, Technothriller, Suspense, Horror, Romance

Trigger Warnings: Multiverse Theories

I bought Dark Matter as a part of my January Book of the Month club box. All opinions are my own.

The Review

A typical family night in the Dessen’s brownstone involved making dinner and enjoying each other’s company. This time, while on his way back from picking up ice cream, Jason Dessen is abducted and drugged by a masked figure. When Jason wakes up, he is not in his world. He is no longer a college physics professor. He no longer has a wife or child. His brownstone is still his home, but none of the furnishings -down to the location of the electrical outlets- are the same. Instead, he is “friends” with a man he never met, who has been funding his “research” for the past eleven years. Jason cannot tell if this is an elaborate prank or just a dream. While he battles with his sanity, another Jason comes home from getting ice cream, three hours later, and makes love to his wife.

Dark Matter was the February selection for my local Girly Book Club. I was thrilled to see Dark Matter as the selection! It has been on my TBR since it came out, but I have never gotten around to reading it. I was extremely happy to see that I could still purchase on Book of the Month club. Originally, I wanted to save this review until after my book club meeting so I could include some of their opinions as well. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the meeting anymore for a work function. But, I still went ahead and finished reading the novel and WOW!

This novel was nothing like I expected but everything I have ever wanted in a Sci-Fi novel. I have always been a huge fan of the Multiverse theory. That every decision we make branches off into two separate realities, creating an infinite amount of universes. Dark Matter goes deep into the theoretical concept. If you already had some experience with Schrodinger’s cat, then you will easily follow along to the concept of the novel. If not, don’t worry! Crouch spent a chunk of the novel explaining Schrodinger’s cat in layman’s terms.

When I read Dark Matter, I could not stop thinking about Langston Huges’ poem Harlem. “What happens to a dream deferred?” haunted me as I flipped through the chapters. In the multiverse, there would be no dreams deferred. There would always be some version of you accomplishing what you want. In Dark Matter, Jason Dessen (Jason) was a budding physicist, that gave up his research to accept an undergrad teaching job when the women he loved said she was pregnant. In an alternate reality, Jason Dessen (Jason2) decides that he wants to keep his career, not the child. Thus, he wins the Pavia Prize and creates a quantum superposition of an object that was visible to the human eye. For those of you who read the We are Legion (We are Bob) Audible review, this novel will create a similar existential crisis.

What I did not like about Dark Matter was how Jason accepted that he was in the multiverse but only focused his timeline as the one and only timeline in which he resided. He was so determined to get back to “his” home; but, due to the theory, his “home” is no longer his home. In the time that Jason was gone, an infinite amount of universes would have sprouted. Some Jason never went to get ice cream, some Jason never got kidnapped, even some Jason2 would have been kicked out by Daniela. I understand Crouch t we could make this connection. However, I wish he would have had Jason make this connection as well. It was almost as if Jason knew there were multiverses, but when I came down to it there was only one multiverse to go back too.

Overall, I gave Dark Matter a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. For fans of Rick and Morty or Black Mirror, like myself, you will love this novel. If you don’t, you would still love this novel. Dark Matter honestly had a little something for everyone. Personally, I thought this would be classified better as a romance novel than a horror novel. I had tears by chapter five because of how deeply Jason loved Daniela and how he tried anything to get back to her. Plus, it helped that Daniela was actually an amazing human given the circumstance she was put in.

My heart is going so fast, the room threatening to spin, and then Ryan Holder is standing next to Daniela with his arm around her. He’s wearing a tweed jacket, his hair is graying, and he’s paler and less fit than the last time I saw him, which was impossibly at Village Tap last night at his celebration for winning the Pavia Prize.
“Well, well,” Ryan says, shaking my hand. “Mr. Pavia. The man himself.”
-Dark Matter by Blake Crouch


Review: An American Marriage

An American MarriageThe Stats

Title: An American Marriage

Author: Tayari Jones

Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; 1st Edition edition (2018)

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Contemporary, African Literature, Literary Fiction, Social Justice

Trigger Warning: Rape, Incarceration

I bought An American Marriage as a part of my January Book of the Month club box.  All opinions are my own.

The Review

A year into their marriage, Celestial and Roy are excited about their future. Roy is a young business executive in charge of selling textbooks, and Celestrial is an artist about to make it big. All they want is a beautiful child to share their joy. However, everything goes array when, on a trip to visit Roy’s parents, the cops rip Roy out of their hotel room and arrest him for a crime Celestial knows he did not commit. Faced with 12 years of imprisonment, Celestial struggles with the idea of attempting to maintaining a marriage. Instead, she seeks comfort in her childhood friend, and Roy’s best man, Andre. But, when Roy’s conviction is overturned after five years, Celestial must decide if she wants to rebuild her marriage and learn to love Roy again.

An American Marriage was one of my most anticipated novels of the year and it did not let me down. A tragic love story that focused on the racial injustice of mass incarceration was everything I needed this Valentine’s Day. Told in the perspectives of Celestial, Roy, and Andre, An American Marriage shaped a modernized twist to the classic love triangle. Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy is unjustly arrested for a crime he did not commit as he was with the girl the entire time, girl tries to visit boy in prison, girl instead finds comfort in her best male friend, etc. From the symbolic meaning of the cover art to the last paragraph, Jones constructed a beautiful masterpiece.

My favorite stylistic aspect of the novel was how at the end of Part 1, when Roy was in jail, the novel was told using the letters exchanged between Celestial and Roy. Jones easily could have gone on a tangent about Roy’s time in the penitentiary. However, the novel was not about Roy being in jail. The novel was about how jail affected Roy’s wife. By filtering Roy’s time through his letters, we were not provided any dramatic irony. We experienced Roy’s letters how Celestial would. I also believe Jones used this method to prevent from using any pathos when it came to Roy’s incarceration. Jones did not want the reader to presume Roy was the victim and Celestial was the bad guy. Real life is not black and white, and Jones did not want to provide us with a novel that reflected the same.

Overall, I rated An American Marriage 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. If you spot this novel in your local bookstore, I highly suggest you pick it up. I would have provided more in my review, but I don’t want to spoil the ending – which was creatively crafted. Jones depicted a story that was nothing like I have read before, but one I am sure was common for many American families dealing with the absences of loved ones due to incarceration.

The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag

Huge thanks to Fire & Rain for tagging me! I have been reading her blog from afar for a while. So to actually be tagged by Sydney when I got my own was an incredible experience.


The Wife

I chose The Wife Between Us because I was super in the mood for psychological thrillers. It was apart of my Book of the Month Box for December (my other two selections being The Chalk Man and Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance). But to be honest, the synopsis was what made me choose the novel.

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love.
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing.

This book was everything I wanted from a Thriller. I did not see the twist coming at all….AND THEN ANOTHER ONE SMAKED ME IN THE FACE!!!


Eleanor Oliphant

When Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine was one of the choices for the December Book of the Month box, it didn’t catch my eye at all. Heck, I already mentioned why I chose The Wife Between Us. How could Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine compete with that? It wasn’t until Reese Witherspoon bought the movie rights that I began to pay attention to the novel. Thankfully, my mom already bought the Audible so I listened to it on that and was pleasantly surprised.



I found Freshwater on Goodreads. I want to read more novels by women of colour, and I found the perfect list of every novel coming out this month by authors of African descent. TBH, I thought the image on the cover was a Japanese Koi Fish or a Carp (probably because it was titled Freshwater) and that is why I wanted to pre-order the novel on Amazon. Instead, I was able to get the book 2 weeks before its launch day.



I went to Barnes and Nobel with my best friend senior year of college. I had no idea what to buy and J pointed out that he read Scar tissue and really enjoyed it. I have always loved the Red Hot Chili Peppers, so I took him up on his word and bought the novel that day.



Sing, Unburied, Sing was plastered ALL OVER bookstagram from about August until now! Everyone raved about it, and thankfully I was not disappointed.



I was about to head to Florida for Spring Break and I saw Matched at its sequel, Crossed, on sale at Meijer. I am obsessed with Dystopian novels and the covers were beautiful! I then was super excited to hear that Disney bought the rights to make a movie regarding the series. That was back in 2011, still no movie yet…



I know M. Knight Shamalya’s movie Devil was only loosely based on the premise of And Then There Were None; but, I would not have given Agatha Christie’s novel a chance unless I watched Devil. I also only gave this novel a chance because I knew the new Murder on the Orient Express was about to come out, which made me want to read And Then There Were None even more.



Harry Poter and the Sorcerer’s Stone will always be my favorite book no matter what happens. The first time I “read” it was when I was in first grade and my mother would read one-two chapters a night before my brother and I went to bed. The first time I was able to read the novel myself was in Grade 3. I have since read the Sorcerer’s Stone 8 times and it never gets old. Now that I am finally moving into my own place, the first book set I think I am going to buy is a brand new Harry Potter series.

Following Sydney’s lead, I am going to tag some of my newest followers! Don’t forget to link back to this post so I can see your responses. 🙂

Chrikaru Reads

Flying Paperbacks

Reaching While Rooted