Reviews

Review | The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

Book Review

The Way Back to Florence by Glenn Haybittle

*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

18302455If someone asked me to describe this book I would say it is poetic, passionate, and fast paced. It went by way to quickly for my liking, I wanted it to never end. In this historical fiction novel you follow the lives of  Freddie, Isabella, and Oskar against the backdrop of  in Italy during World War II. What I enjoyed the most is that their personalities are distinct, they do not feel generic at all. Isabella is a strong individual, she puts herself in so much danger to help others as well as project art. I went to art school for a few years and for me personally art is culture. It is a way to show how a group or individual feels, but also shows what they see around them. Art is very important. Freddie is a pilot during the war. His does gruesome work and is faced with danger often. During this time he bonds very well with his crew mates and you experience his point of view of the bombing, which I found interesting to read. Oskar, whose story is not really described in the description so I wont say much, but he is also a very distinct character who has a very important non-passive role in this book. I felt that this novel described a lot of the various roles citizens could have taken during the war.

I could easily go on about this, I honestly REALLY enjoyed this. It has all of the elements of a historical fiction that I look for. It takes place during an active time in history, the characters are involved in the events in different ways, and I genuinely connected with these characters. For me a bonus of this book was that it took place outside of Germany, France, and Britain. For me personally I had not read a WWII historical fiction that took place in Italy so it caught my eye even more than a historical fiction normally would. Over all I would say if you enjoy historical fiction, art, WWII related books, and you enjoy reading about characters that feel like real people you need to pick this up. I give this book an easy 5 stars!

Description

In 1937 Freddie (English), Isabella (Italian) and Oskar (a German Jew) become friends at an art school in Florence where they are taught by the dictatorial but magus-like Maestro and his sinister fascist assistant Fosco. When war arrives Freddie returns to England to become the pilot of a Lancaster bomber. Oskar, now a dancer, has moved to Paris where he escapes the 1942 roundup of Jews and arrives in Italy with his young daughter Esme. Isabella remains in Florence where she continues to paint. Until she is called upon by Maestro to forge an old master painting, apparently at the behest of the Führer himself, and as a result is seen as a Nazi collaborator by her neighbours.
The murderous skies over Germany and a war-torn Italy in the grip of Nazi occupation provide the setting for this novel about the love of a separated husband and his wife and the love of a man for his young daughter. Freddie and Oskar both hope to find their way back to Florence. But Florence’s heritage of preserving the identity and continuity of the past has never before been so under threat.


Book Information

Publisher: Cheyne Walk

Publication Date: (This edition) July 06, 2017

List Price: $13.99

ISBN: 9780993286308

Pages: 490 pages


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To Be Read

JULY TBR | 2017

TBR

The Sign of Four by Sir Arther Conan Doyle
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I have been slowly reading through all of the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories and I have started The Sign of Four and I really, really want to finish it this month.

A dense yellow miasma swirls in the streets of London as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson accompany a beautiful young woman to a sinister assignation.

For Mary Morstan has received several large pearls – one a year for the last six years – and now a mystery letter telling her she is a wronged woman. If she would seek justice she is to meet her unknown benefactor, bringing with her two companions.

Goodreads.com

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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I have a little bit of a funny story for this book. I was in the bookstore looking at new releases. Someone who worked there walked up to me and was so excited I had this book in my hands. She went on for about five minuets about  how much she liked it. While the premise of the book pulled me in this girls excitement sold me completely.

On February 22, 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln was laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery. That very night, shattered by grief, Abraham Lincoln arrives at the cemetery under cover of darkness and visits the crypt, alone, to spend time with his son’s body.

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Joyland by Stephen King

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Once again I plan on reading a Stephen King novel. My aunt recommended this one to me and I already owned it so I decided to pick this one up next. What could go wrong in a theme park? Oh wait, Stephen King wrote it…everything. I am excited to pick this book up as well.

College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever.

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What are you reading this month?

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Tags

TAG | The Goodreads Tag

Tag Tuesday

1. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS ‘READ’?

The Fireman by Joe Hill

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2. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

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Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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3. WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU MARKED AS ‘TO READ’?

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

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4. WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO READ NEXT?

I plan on reading The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock.

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5. DO YOU USE THE STAR RATING SYSTEM?

Yes, I actually have it posted on my blog [HERE].

6. ARE YOU DOING A 2017 READING CHALLENGE?

Yes, I have a goal of reading 50 books this year. I currently have 41 books read, so I am well on my way.

7. DO YOU HAVE A WISHLIST?

Yes, but I keep track of my wishlist on amazon not goodreads.

8. WHAT BOOK DO YOU PLAN TO BUY NEXT?

I have no idea, I usually just buy whatever book I feel like reading. But, I am craving a non-fiction read.

9. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVORITE QUOTES, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE A FEW?

“Life is tough my darling, but so are you” Stephanie Bennett Henry

“Kindness is an act of bravery, I think, just as hatred is an act of fear” William Ritter

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth” Buddha

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship” – Louisa May Alcott

“He thought much but said little” J.R.R. Tolkien

10. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS?

Stephen King, Louisa May Alcott, Rainbow Rowell,  and William Ritter are my top authors.

11. HAVE YOU JOINED ANY GROUPS?

I have joined a few, but I don’t always read all of the books the groups read.

Top 5 Wednesday

NonFiction Pulitzers

Our Shared Shelf

The History Book Club

Supporting Bookstores

Non Fiction Book Club

12. HOW MANY SHELVES TO DO YOU HAVE ON GOODREADS?

Apart from read, to-read, and currently reading I have genre shelfs. I put books on these when I am done reading so I can see what types of books I am reading.

 

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I tag: Kristina ,  Charlotte , Sarah , Misty , Nikki , and anyone else!

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Tags

Try a Chapter | June 2017

BlogSo my TBR is starting to make me a little uneasy. I am not sure if it is because it is half way though the year or I just feel like I need to cut it down a bit. Either way I decided to do “Try a Chapter” to see if some of the books on my TBR are actually something I would enjoy or the description tricked me into thinking it would be something great to read.

 

A Little Life

When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

Goodreads.com

Conclusion: Keep

Already a chapter in and I want to know what is going to happen to the character. Even though this book is longer I feel like it is going to go fairly quickly because it is so character driven, or at least seems that way at this point.


Annihilation

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

Goodreads.com

 

Conclusion: Unhauled

This book/series sounded so good. There was a mystery, science and exploration. Sadly, the writing was annoying. For me it took to long to get to the point. Even though I only read the first chapter I already started skimming, which is not a good sign. I do not mind slower books if they actually build up to something now and again, but this did not do it for me at all.


The Circle

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency.

Goodread.com

Conclusion: Unhauled

Sadly, this was not for me. I really, really wanted to read this then watch the movie. It seems that this book is not for me, I think I will rent the movie so I can see what everyone is talking about. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason I do not want to read it, but I know I do not.


 

What do you think of my try a chapter decisions?

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Tags

TAG | The TBR Tag

Tag Tuesday
1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?
I use Libib and google sheets. I use libib because it is so easy just to scan a new to me book and I have a nice easy list on my phone. When I get a new book I instantly add it to libib, but it may take me a few days to up date sheets. On Sheets I record the title, author, when it was released, when I received it, and when I started to read it. So if something sits on my shelf for lets say a year I can see that instead of thinking of thinking “oh I got that a while ago” I can say “Oh man, I have had this a year and have not picked it up”. This shows me that I may not actually be interested in reading the book. Sometimes seeing a concrete date helps me unhaul my very filled shelves.
2. Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

My TBR is mostly print, but I want to transition into ebook. As I have said my shelves are very full. So I am slowly moving to putting in requests to my library and reading books that way. Then if I am in love with the book I can buy it and have my own copy.
3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Honestly, I just pick up a book. I just walk over to my shelf and scan till I find something I have not read. I pick it up and start to read. While I do tend to do this at the start of the month and make a little TBR, but if I happen to read all of those books or not stick to it. It doesn’t bother me.
4. A Book That’s Been On Your TBR List The Longest

Salvaged Pages: Young Writers’ Diaries Of The Holocaust by Alexandra Zapruder. I picked this up when I went on vacation to D.C. with my Aunt and my Mom (2015). We visited the Holocaust Museum and I picked up 4-5 books. This is the last of that trip that I have to read. Since this is a collection of diary entries I know I have to be in the mood to read this. The topic is difficult, but to hear about it from those who saw it first hand make is more powerful.

5. A Book You Recently Added To Your TBR

Wicked Like A Wildfire Lana Popović 🙂 
6. A Book In Your TBR Strictly Because Of Its Beautiful Cover

I don’t really do this. Yes, a cover will catch my eye, but I need to be interested in the description as well for me to buy the book.
7. A Book On Your TBR That You Never Plan on Reading

I plan on reading all of them, but the one I think I will be saying for when it gets lower or at its lowest is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 

8. An Unpublished Book On Your TBR That You’re Excited For

Refer to answer of question 5 in addition to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: The Illustrated Edition , The Dire King by William Ritter, and Rhett & Link’s Book of Mythicality: A Field Guide to Curiosity, Creativity, and Tomfoolery by Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal

9. A Book On Your TBR That Basically Everyone’s Read But You

I feel like everyone has already read The Circle by Dave Eggers and The Secret History by Donna Tartt .

10. A Book On Your TBR That Everyone Recommends To You

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, so many people have told me to read it!

11. A Book On Your TBR That You’re Dying To Read

The book I am most looking forward to it A Court of Wings and Ruin. I am currently reading A Court of Mist and Fury and I am so invested!

12. How many books are on your TBR shelf?

Currently I have 35 books.

You can explore my entire TBR here: https://bookishluna.libib.com/i/to-be-read-pile


I Tag

Charlotte

Misty 

Anyone who would like to take part, please do! I love knowing what is on everyones TBR.


What book has been on your TBR the longest?

*P.S. I did not make this graphic I found it on google, but I could not figure out who created it. If you know please let me know so I can give them credit.

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To Be Read

Bookish Bingo | Summer 2017

Reading Challenge

So I was reading some blogs and came across Summer Bookish Bingo. The creator is Bekka from Pretty Deadly Reviews. You can click her name to find the original post if you want some more details. When I saw the newest bingo board I knew I had to take part, it seems like fun. It is also a bonus that it adds some motivation too.

The Bingo Board

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Rules

Lasts the months of June, July, and August.

Get as many Bingos as you can (any directions counts)

One square per book.

*Bekka is very helpful and has a list of books that could count for each square if you need some inspiration.*

Planned Books

I decided to first use the books I have on my TBR, then if I read all of those I can get some books from the library that would fall into the other categories. If you have a book recommendation that would fall into any of these categories, please share!

  • Royalty – A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • Ace RepTBD
  • Over 5 Years Old – IT by Stephen King
  • Thriller – The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  • Read Cover – The Circle by Dave Eggers
  • Latinx MCTBD
  • A Book About Fandom –  TBD
  • Sci-Fi – TBD
  • LGBTQ+ – The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
  • Summer Release – TBD
  • While Cover – The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
  • Family Drama – First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Blue Cover – Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  • On Your TBR Forever – Hiding Places by Diane Wyshogrod
  • Revolution and RebellionTBD 
  • A Sequel – A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • Name in the Title – Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King & Richard Chizmar
  • A Book With A MapTBD
  • Author from Another ContinentTBD
  • Flowers on the Cover – The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins
  • TravelTBD
  • Outside of your Comfort ZoneTBD
  • RomanceTBD
  • Award WinningTBD

What books could you recommend to replace my TBD?

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To Be Read

June TBR: 2017

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This month my TBR is going to be small. I have been in a very odd reading mood as of late. I want to read everything so I keep reading about 20% of a book and then picking up something else.  So I am keeping this short so I can keep that up, but hopefully actually finish a few of my books.

The Circle

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I have been hearing all the hype around The Circle coming out with a movie adaptation with Emma Watson, but I want to read the book before I see the movie. The little blurb from goodreads sound interesting so I want to get to it sooner rather than later.

Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in America – even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge. – goodreads

IT

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I am about 26% through this massive tome, it is over 1000 pages. I started reading this in May and have been loving it so I want to finish it up very soon. I can’t wait for the new adaptation to come out later this year. Now I just need to find someone to watch a scary movie with or I will have to wait even longer for it to come out on DVD.

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real. – goodreads

A Court of Mist and Fury

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I also started to read this beautiful book in May so I want to finish it so I can finally crack open my copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I have been falling behind and I don’t want to be spoiled. I keep having to scroll through my instagram and twitter feed quickly every time I see one of the characters names out of fear.

Quote from A Court of Thorns and Roses (Book 1) : Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price. -goodreads

So, you have seen the books I am going to read. Have you read them? If so let me know what you though. Happy reading!

What are you reading this month?

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To Be Read

TAG: Books I’ll (Probably) Never Read

Tag TuesdaySo I was on booktube, yet again, and was watching some of Ariel Bissett’s videos and I came across this tag. Even though I was not tagged I thought it would be a ton of fun to do! I will insert her video at the end so you can watch it too if you would like.

The Questions:

1/ A really hyped book you’re not interested in reading?

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
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A year or so ago this book was featured in book hauls, review, blogs, and it seemed like everyone was reading it and was super excited. I on the other hand just was not interested. When I buy or read a book I want to know a little bit about the plot and such, but this book had a description that didn’t really tell me much. Plus, since all the hype I have heard some not so god things.


2/ A series you won’t start/won’t be finishing?

Fallen Kingdoms

Mountain ViewI read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it, I gave it four stars. Even though I liked it so much I decided not to continue with the series because I did not want to commit.


3/ A classic that you’re just not interested in?

Fahrenheit 451

Mountain View

 

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
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Both of these have been talked about by my friends and family members. I have been told “you have to read it” so many times, but I just don’t feel inclined to do so. If you have read either of these let me know, I am curious to what you think.


4/ Any genres you never read?

Satire, I don’t really gravitate towards it. Maybe one day I will give it a go,  but not today.


5/ A book on your shelves you’ll probably never actually read?

Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

Mountain View

The reasons I don’t think I am going to read this is because it is a dystopian/end of the world book, which is a subject I don’t always enjoy and when I picked this up I was unaware it was a series. Lately, I have been getting tired of reading series. I am gravitations towards stand alone books.


What book on your TBR are you unlikely to read?I hope you enjoyed the tag, if you want to do it please feel free!Ariel Bissett’s Video

Reviews

Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie

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Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie

23330786This little book is a collection of short stories by improve/comedian/actor Colin Mochrie. Every story in here is a little twist on classic literature. Some of the classics he “plays” with include Sherlock Holmes (my favorite), Shakespeare plays, A Tale of Two Cities, and many more.

Now, I can break this book into two sections, stories based off the classics I have read and then ones I have not read. The short stories that were based on classics I was familiar with were amazing! I was laughing and engrossed right away. It was like revisiting the book with a little quirk. He was able to peg the characters personalities, but also change them in an appropriate way that did his little retelling without taking anything away. You can tell he put in effort while writing this.

Now, for the short stories that were based upon classics I was unfamiliar with. They were well written and were funny as well. Even though I enjoyed them I feel like I did not get as much or missed some subtle jokes. So if you do pick up this book you can easily read these short stories and enjoy them, even laugh out loud. Don’t let the fact you did not read the original get in the way. I plan on eventually reading most of the ones used in this collection and plan on rereading this as I complete them.

Over all I would recommend this book for those who enjoy classic literature, retellings, and funny books. It is a wonderful short book to break up reading more serious, intense reads, but also longer books as well. I gave this a 3 out of 5 stars. It was great and I really think as I reread this I will update the score to go higher.


Book Information

Publisher: Diversion Publishing

Publication Date: November 6th 2012

List Price: $14.99

ISBN: 9781626814554

Pages: 194 pages


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Hauls & Unboxings

Birthday Book Haul!

Book Haul

Some of you may have know, but my birthday was a few days ago and I was lucky enough to get a few books for my birthday this year. Normally my family and friends just pick out gift cards from Barns and Noble or Amazon so I can pick some stuff for myself, which is great. But, it is very nice when someone picks a book or books out just for you. Here are the books friends and family got me this year.

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The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The first book my Mom picked up for me is The Invention of Nature because she knows I enjoy science, nature, and non-fiction. Even though in my picture you can only see the spine, click the title to look at the actual cover. It is absolutely beautiful. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, I read the description (below) and it sounds really interesting. I cannot wait to eventually pick it up and read it.

Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.

– via goodreads


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

This is the second of three books my Mom picked up for me. I have been really into suspense/thriller reads as of late. Once again I read the description and was very happy with this pick. There is a great mixture of mystery and history. I am very excited to see what unfolds in this book.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

– via goodreads


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is the last book my Mom picked out for me. I read The Goldfinch and generally liked it overall, but found faults with it. You can read a little bit more of my review in my post  #TBRTakeDown: Wrap Up. Anyway, my mom picked this up because I have mentioned I have wanted to try another book by her. This one is much shorter so I am more confident this book will not have the same large flaws, fingers crossed!

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

– via goodreads


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

One of my best friends picked this up for me because I LOVED The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I was so happy when I finally got it open. My friend loves to wrap presents in a way that makes it very difficult to open so she can watch people struggle. She put it in a box, surrounded it by two bags, and then wrapped it completely in duct tape. I was not allowed to use scissors. Anyway, I was so excited to get it open AND it to be this book.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

– via goodreads


A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

My wonderful boyfriend bought me a personalized autograph copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I am so grateful and excited! I am so worried to actually read this because I don’t want to ruin it. I may put in a call to the library and carry that one around instead.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court.

– via goodreads


I am so happy with the book I received for my birthday and I wanted to once again thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday. It meant so much to me. Have a great day and happy reading!

What book would you pick to read out of the ones mentioned?

 

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