Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | My 5 Least Favorite Books I Have Read So Far This Year

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Welcome  to part two of my continuation of my mid-year check in! Earlier I did a whole post talking about my top 5 books I have read so far this  year. Now, it is time to talk about the bottom 5 books I have read this year. If you would like to see my top 5 you. can find that. here:Let’s Talk | Top 5 Books I Have Read So Far This Year. Anyway, I don’t want to do too much. of an introduction, but the books I mentioned just didn’t do. it. for me personally for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean they are a bad book or that you can’t like them. I just didn’t and thankfully most of these were library books.


-The Books-

1star

There is only a single “book” I gave so far this year and that would be a work by Shakespeare. Since I first read some of his works back in high school, I did not enjoy them in the slightest. I thought that this feeling was mainly due to teachers in the past making me read a bunch of them. Turns out, I still don’t like the plays all that much. Maybe it would be different if I saw one of them preformed, but I just thought it was WAY too dramatic.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare


2stars

So far there is only one book I have given two stars and this would be The Woman in the Dark. I was just bored by it and I don’t really think it has anything to do with the book. I just read a lot of thrillers and this one never really surprised me or kept my interest. I think It was just predictable because I read so many of them. The writing itself was good and the author is talented, just the plot of me was meh.

The Woman in the Dark by Vanessa Savage


3stars

The fact that I need to list any three star reads is great in my eyes. That means I have not read a lot of books that I didn’t enjoy. I am finally getting better at finding books I am more  likely to enjoy. But, while these books are not bad at all, they are at the lower end of my rating scale.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

While this was an enjoyable book, I was not wowed by it. It was just something I read and moved on. It was not notable for me personally.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Behind her eyes has a similar reason as The Woman in the Dark apart from the ending being surprising. I was just not totally feeling into the story as I read, but I liked it enough to finish it.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

 War and Peace was good, just I was not that drawn into the lives of the people I was reading about. These stories are very character driven in my opinion and if you are not feeling the characters you most likely wont enjoy it very much.


What is your least favorite read so far?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Top 5 Books I Have Read So Far This Year

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I was watching youtube, as one does and I recently subscribed to a booktuber called Katie Wismer. Her newest video, at the time of writing this, popped up into my feed and I loved this little addition to a midyear check in. Last month I went over all of my goal. updates and such in my post called Reading & Blog Goals | 2019 Mid-Year Check In, but after watching her video I thought it would be fun to share my favorite and least favorite reads so far this year. I am going to start with  a gush fest, I hope you don’t mind!


-The Books-

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I mainly read this because I was hearing so many great things. Then after I picked it up my boyfriend happened to watch the first episode of the Prime series and said I would really liked it. So, I decided to read this and it has easily become a favorite for me. I read this in two days. If I didn’t have work it would have been a single day.

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

This was such a well planned out and very well organized thriller it was able to surprise me so many times along the way. The description I think sells it sort because the plot is so much more. I don’t want to say too much, but wow. I have to say I am really lucky to have been given an ARC for a book that ended up being 5 stars. It is wonderful when that happens.

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me by Mariko Tamaki, Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

This was such a cute LGBTQ+ graphic novel. I actually read a free sample from the publisher on their website and I read the sample then walked into the library because I needed to know what happened next. The artwork and the words were both beautiful. Sadly not pictured because it was from the library.

Elevation by Stephen King

This is a wonderfully weird novella from King. It was not horror, but more science fiction and I loved that! Even with its short size I became connected to the characters and felt for them. I will admit I teared up at a particular point. This was a very unique story and I will reread it again.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Now, there is not much to say about this high fantasy novel/series that has yet to be said. I am started a reread of this series and I am enjoying the adventure so much. I can’t  wait to continue and maybe implement a hobbit style eating habit along the way. The world, the language, and the songs created by JRR Tolkien are all amazing and so detailed it feels so real.


What has been your favorite read of 2019 so far?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Why Reading Only Digital Books is Harder Than it Seems

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Hi everyone, it has been some time before I have done a full Let’s Talk post. I haven’t really had anything I wanted to talk about until today, I am writing this May 22nd. I was walking around the bookstore looking for a book to peak my interest. Which, if you read my post Decluttering | Switching to Ebooks, is most likely VERY confusing and pretty much hypocritical.

In this post I talked about why I wanted to switch to ebooks, how I didn’t have room on my shelves and how I wanted to carry all of my books around with me on my kindle. I made the very bold statement of switching to ebooks and committing myself to it. That was before really researching it and realizing how difficult it could really be.

Now, for some there are medical reasons why this is not viable, there is also the price of the device, and a few other issues with this. But, in this post I really want to focus on one aspect that I found difficult/annoying and derailed me from my goal.

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So, like I said earlier in this post I was walking around a bookstore looking for a book to inspire me to pick it up. I received some great news and I wanted to treat myself in celebration. Now, I didn’t have a ton of money in my budget so I was looking strictly in the discount section of the store. I ended up finding a book I was really interested in called The Secret History of Twin Peaks, it appears to be a thriller/mystery told through documents and interviews. It kind of has a House of Leaves interview type feel, thankfully the pages aren’t as all over the place.

As you can see from the picture I posted earlier today, The book was under $7, I actually for it for under $5 because I have a membership. Now, as you know I was making the switch to ebooks so when I find a book I am interesting I look up the ebook cost, this is where once again I ran into my problem/issue.

When I first looked it up on amazon, where I get my ebooks for my kindle, at first I was excited to see what the hardback copy was going for.

I knew right off the bat that I was getting a very good deal. I then clicked on the book and then switched to kindle edition and was not as happy. 

The ebook was more expensive than the hardback edition in person as well as online. It was a whole $10 more… How can I justify spending $10 more on a book? I can buy a lot of food and other necessities with this money. How is it that something that is digital is more than something made of actual matter? This is the issue I have found myself running into time and time again. The digital editions of books costing more than physical and not by a few dollars.

Now I know, I can spend $0 on a book by using the library via ebook or even physical. While, I am lucky my library generally has books I am looking for. But, recently they have broken from the company they were working with and the choices have gone down. So, where I was able to get ebooks and audiobooks for nearly all of the books I wanted that is sadly, no longer the case.

So, I am left with spending the least amount of money. That means I am picking up a physical book. Thus, my ebook commitment has kinda gone out the window. On top of that, I have the problem of not wanting to keep my credit card bill high and less and less stores are carrying gift cards for amazon. So, there is another issue that is kinda related.

So, thanks for listening to my rant/possible discussion about ebooks.

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Have you ever run into this issue?

Do you know any other sites I can buy ebooks for my kindle?

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter May 2019

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Hello and welcome to me realizing that my reading tastes have changes a ton in the last 6 months. I feel like every time I turn around my reading tastes have taken a 180 and I am DNFing books left and right. When this happens I sit in front of my shelves and do an unhaul. This round I was able to easily get rid of 10 books with no problem, but there were 4 books I was very much on the fence about keeping. Due to this I decided to do a try a chapter post. Without more of a delay, here are the books.

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His Perfect Wife by Natasha Bell, I feel like I would like this book, but I have not reached for it since receiving it from the publisher. I have not really been fully in the mood for a thriller as of late so that is why I want to read it before unhauling. I feel like I may really like her writing style.

The opening narration kinda had the vibe of someone who is watching from above and I can’t figure out if the wife was already dead or just being the narrator for kicks. Well, I read a little more and it turns out she is not dead and just said she just made those things up. I am kinda still on the fence about this book. I am think I am going to keep it for now and see if I am in the mood for it when I want to read a thriller.


Image result for An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat HowardAn Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard, this was a very last min. edition to my bookoutlet order in the new year. I really need to stay away from that site, I end up buying books that don’t really call to me in the first place. 

I have no idea why, but the opening sentence of the book made me laugh and I cannot take it seriously. I did not really enjoy the set up to the story so I am going to have to let this one go. 


Image result for The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay

3.The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay, this was my BOTM pick for December. I mainly picked it because it was set in Southern India and travels around various counties within Asia not because of its synopsis. I want to read more books set around the world, but I want to like the idea of the plot as well. I am hoping that this will surprise me and I end up wanting to keep it

I already want to know more after reading the first chapter. I know about her parents kinda, I know that someone is dead and it might be connected to her. I want to know how her family dynamic is tied to the fate of a man from a small village on a mountain.  I am going to keep this book and read it!


Image result for Searching for the Amazons by John Man

Searching for the Amazons by John Man, I love learning about the amazons the only problem is I forgot this book was sitting on my shelf, which means I am not thinking about it in the slightest. Which, is a but concerning if you ask me. I am hoping that reading the first chapter will lead me to wanting to read it.

I did not enjoy the narrators voice, for some reason I was very bored by it. I don’t see myself picking it up again in the near future if ever so I am going to have to let this one go. 

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So I decided to unhaul 2 books, I am still iffy about 1, and I am really excited to read another. Talk about being all over the place! Anyway, thanks for reading and are there any books on this list you think I am wrong about? Should I give any a second chance with chapter 2?

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Lets Talk · Uncategorized

Lets Talk | Posting Update & Blog Changes

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Hey everyone, this post is going to be a little different than my normal. In the next few months there are going to be quite a few changes in my life, hopefully all for the better. Since I will be busier because I am working towards something that is a huge goal of mine. I am going to be cutting back on my blogging from 3 times a week to 2. Maybe this will temporary or last forever, only time will tell. But, I wanted to just talk about it a bit and explain why there is a sudden change in my posting.

I have been blogging for some time and I have met some amazing people and I really love talking to everyone. I have found such awesome books since blogging and really opened my eyes to a lot. I don’t want to lose that connection and experience because I am working towards something else, but I need to be realistic.

Chances are this new project is going to take a ton of my time and I will be stressed out of my mind. Who knows if I will even have much time to read, I really hope I do. Anyway, when I decided a change needed to be made I posted a poll on my twitter and on my instagram to have your input.

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So, according to my twitter poll, the most popular choice was Sunday/Wednesday and the same went for my instagram poll as well. So over the next few weeks I will slowly start to make a change to this new posting schedule. Thanks for all the input who saw the polls and voted, it really helped.

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Thanks for reading! I hope in the next few months I will get to share really exciting news with all of you.

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Lets Talk

Let’s Talk | Reusable Straws

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So for some time I really enjoyed drinking soda, coffee, tea and most of my drinks through straws, even when I was younger. I am not sure why, maybe because it bothers my teeth less or I am less likely to spill my drinks all over me.

Regardless, of my love of using straws I stopped using them for various reasons. The first being money and the second being waste. So I eventually decided I would get some reusable ones to carry around with me. I will say I did save up a bit and I have previously had a metal straw and promptly gave it to someone else because it has a weird metallic flavor to it. So, this time I ordered some glass straws from a company called Simply Straw. The reason I went with this company is because it is made in California, Women Owned, and they are able to be used with hot and cold beverages. In addition, I can hand wash and or throw it in the dishwasher. Also, the nice bonus of a lifetime guarantee.

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-My Experience-

I have been using glass straws for nearly 2 months at this point and I will be 100% honest. While I do love using them I found a few faults. While I was using my straws the biggest drawback is after using them. I often had no where to store the dirty straw because I did not want to restore it in the same container because I was worried about germs and contamination. So I often had to just throw it in my lunch bag and do a deep clean once I got home, but depending on what I drank it sometimes settled in the straw was REALLY hard to clean at times.

Due to that the 3 I had tended to all be in need of a wash at the same time so I could not use glass straws exclusively because 2 of my straws are really skinny the brush cleaner does not fit in there so I had to wash them in the dishwasher.

Moving forward I will continue to use these straws, but I need to find a better way to store and maybe find a good “dirty” pouch. I also feel like I will need to invest more in this, which I don’t really see myself being able to do currently. Maybe add a few here and there to make this really doable.

-Overall-

Likes

  • Less waste
  • Feeling fancy!
  • Reusable/Well lasting

Dislike

  • If you don’t have a sink around, you can’t clean it. I feel like my pouch was getting dirty.
  • Finding the right size is hard, I needed to buy multiple and will need more
  • Investment $$$

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What do you think about reusable straws? Do you use them? What other ways do you cut down on waste?

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Lets Talk

Lets Talk | Five Star Predictions

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So, for readers there is nothing better than a 5 start book. As I read more and more I have been able to determine if I will like a book, but I find it harder to predict a 5 star read. So, I wanted to flex that muscle a little and really take a hard look at my TBR and see if I can predict some 5 star reads.

When I rate a book 5 stars it means a few things. First, the plot and characters were really enjoyable. It was not completely predictable and flowed nicely. Characters were not annoying or if they character has a fault it is to display a particular lesson or commenting on something else through their writing. I have to find myself surprised, angry, happy, excited, elated in combination or separate. The characters need to be distinct. But, overall I need to enjoy the ride, then entire ride.

5stars

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My Predictions

The Overstory by Richard Powers

The Overstory

After reading this description I knew I needed to have this book. It seems like a mixture of magical realism and science? Also, kind of a sad future we may be heading for? It seems like a warning letter to what we as a planet to become and honestly, I just really love the idea of this book so much.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

I picked this as a Book of the Month book late last year and I vividly remember it being the second description I read and knowing right away that I needed to have it. It tells a story of women throughout history who have done so much for the world, but have remained silent, it seems like a historical fiction of sorts.

Bringing Down the Colonel by Patricia Miller

Bringing Down the Colonel: A Sex Scandal of the Gilded Age, and the "Powerless" Woman Who Took on Washington

I got this book as a gift and I love it so much. I have heard whispers of this case, but I am very excited to learn more about it. Since it is was one of the first major cases of a women coming forward and saying she was assaulted by a man in power. It seems like it will be a very hard hitting factual book.

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

The Mars Room

I will be 100% honest here. I am basing this off of the cover. I know, don’t judge a book by the cover, but the vibe I am getting from the cover has me really excited. Also, to be fair I would not have bought this book if it was not part of my Reading Goals | Reading a Shortlist. But, I am very happy I did because the description is interesting as well.

The Wicked King by Holly Black

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2)

I really loved the first book in this series, The Cruel Prince, and I have love quite a few of Holly Blacks novels in the past. So, I think it is safe to say that I will love this one as well.

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What was your last 5 star read? What do you think about my predictions?

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Lets Talk · Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Finding Balance | Netgalley Backlist & Rules

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Overall, I have to say I am pretty good with keeping up with my Netgalley list now. I used to be fairly bad at it. I would often go on requesting sprees because I was not sure if I would or would not get approved for books. I figured most were a long shot and I would just up my odds by requesting a bunch. Well, that approach did not work.

When I first started I had no system or rules in place, so I would just pick a random ARC I needed to review and read it every so often. I did not account for when it came out or how long I had on my shelf. I was kind of overwhelmed and I had a ton on my kindle. I really had no idea where to start so I pick threw a dart and read that one.

This was not the best course of action for me. I saw more and more books go into the 6 months or older section and I became stressed. I was getting approved more often as I handed in reviews, which I was excited about, but then I had more and more books coming into my kindle that I previously. One day I was just so over whelmed I took a day and just went through everything. When I did this I came up with a few rules and tracking system that helped me.

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My Tracking System

I made a really simple tracking system for myself. I write down the title, if I reviewed it, when it is to be published, and when it will be archived. When I go to read an ARC, I go to this list and I look at the published date to determine which one I will read next.

You may notice that I do not track which books I request. I used to, but now I only pick one ARC to request per month. You can see from the above image I have an ARC for February, March, April and July. I only requested one per month so I can’t get over whelmed with the ARCs coming in. Having one ARC a month means I can still read all the books I have on my shelf without worrying about getting my reviews in.

My Rules

Now these rules are just what works for me, that does not mean they will work for you, but I thought it would be interesting to share.

  1. Request one book per month, dependent on the release date.
    • This limits the amount of ARCs coming in
  2. Read the an ARC the month before it’s release date.
    • Takes the pressure off
  3. As soon as I get an approval email, add book to the ARC Tracker
    • This ensures I don’t forget a book I am approved for.
  4. Only request books I would pay to read.
    • This one is my top rules, this makes sure I request only books I will want to read asap. I will not want to put them off and I know I am not taking ARCs away from others who really want to read them.
  5. No book can make it to the 3 month or older shelf.
    • Ensures I keep my feedback ratio over 80%

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The Current State of my Netgalley

Feedback Ratio: 87%

31 Approved  |  27 Feedback Sent

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How do you manage your requests and netgalley reviews?

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Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk |Fall Book Recommendation Test & Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs Review

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So, I don’t know about you, but I always see quizzes where they ask you to answer a bunch of questions and then will recommend you a book. I don’t do many of them, but I decided to do the following one that was created by bookish.com. This one asked a bunch of questions and then in theory would recommend me a book I would love to read this fall.

So I answered a bunch of questions, some you can see how they would relate to a book recommendation, others not so much. There was a question about the type of Halloween candy I liked most and I still cannot understand what the connection between a book and a candy. Not to mention they didn’t even have the candy I liked the most.

That is one thing that has made me skeptical in the past about these quizzes, sometimes the answers don’t really apply to myself. I wish there was a Other option for some of them, but I can see how they would not be an option so I just pick the closest thing. When I was done with the quiz I was given Small Fry by Lisa Brennan-Jobs. Now I was curious to see if they actually recommended me a book I would enjoy reading or not.

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What Happened

So I started reading this book in the middle of November, it was a perfect book to read during non-fiction November. So, at this point the quiz is in the positive.

This was a very honest book, which I was not sure if I was going to get. I thought it would not be as deep and show so much of the negative aspects of her relationship with her father. The main reason I thought this was because he has passed and people tend to get rose colored glasses when someone has passed. People focus on the good things, which I think is a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong. But, I really liked that she was honest about the downs as much as the ups in her relationship with her father.

Another thing I liked about this book is that it was really well laid out and the story of her life slows very well. I have read memoirs that read choppy and seemed to be disjointed at times. This one is quite the opposite. Also, I really enjoyed that she didn’t just talk about her father even though he is a very well known individual. I really enjoyed learning about her and her story. I liked hearing about her experience in college and as a child even though I had no idea who she was before reading this book, to me that says a lot.

I would say the only reason why I did not give this story a full five stars is because I didn’t really get anything that affected how I saw things in my own life. I know that can sound bad, but when I read a memoir about a person the only way I would give it a five is if it impacted how I lived my life or influenced how I saw a particular event or idea. I hope that make sense. I do highly suggest this book if you are looking to read a good memoir.

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Have you read a book that was recommended to you by a quiz?

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Lets Talk · Reviews

Let’s Talk | Book Breeze App Review

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So a few weeks ago you will notice that I started using the app the bookish app Book Breeze created by Zendo Mobile. As far as I am aware this app is only available on the App Store, hopefully this will change in the future. This app is a reading tracker that focuses on collecting data regarding your reading speed, how many hours you spend reading, and how many pages you read. Now the version I am going to be talking about is the paid version of the app. While the free version has everything BUT the speed data and the ability to read more than one book. So a lot of the things I talk about will still be relevant to those using the free version.

Image result for book breeze

What I Liked

So, Book Breeze has a lot going for it as a reading tracker. It is easy to snap a picture of the book you are reading and manually add author, title, and numbers of pages. It also allows you to add a book even if you are in the middle by adding what page you are on. This process is straight forward and you don’t need to add any other information to get to using the app.

Starting a new reading session is easy, you go right to your books pages and click on the cover of the book you want to continue, then click “continue reading”. As soon as you start reading it will start the stopwatch of sorts and record you time until you click stop or pause. I love the fast that you can pause your reading instead of needed to hit stop every time you need to get up real fast for one reason or another. Another great thing is that if you forget to start your session you can add a session by adding the numbers of pages you read and how long you were reading at any point. Sometimes I still forget, but it is easy to fix with the way they set this up.

The last thing I thing they do wonderful is having a straight forward and interface that is not overwhelming. It is easy to navigate and new users I feel will be pros fairly quickly. The graphs and data that is shown is not complex and are very usable then it comes to actually looking at the data. Some apps I have come across make things more complicated then they need to be, Book Breeze does it right.

What I Didn’t Like

You cannot DNF a book without loosing all the data for the book or is stays on your current list forever. I am someone who often DNFs books because I don’t like to force myself to read something I am not enjoying. One thing I think they need to add to this app is either the ability to DNF a book or add a tab to the book category that would remove the book from Current, but allow you to keep pages read data.

Another thing I do not like is the fact that under stats you can only see 2 weeks, 1 month, 1 year, and 10 years. While we do have This week under the reading tab, if you do not take a screen shot to write down what you read this past week on Saturday night you will now have to do some math to figure out what you read in a single week. While it is not a lot of hard work, it is something that I think could be improved upon.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I think this is a wonderful app and if you are on the market to find an app to track your reading habits or get more insight into your reading pattern it is worth giving a shot. While it does have its faults in my eyes, I am still going to use the app and hopefully they will make some great updates in the future.

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Do you use a reading tracker, if so which one do you use?

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I paid for this app on my own, this post is not sponsored in anyway.