To Be Read

To Be Read | First TBR of 2021

Hello and welcome to my January 2021 TBR. I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their year and I wish every single one of you a safe, healthy and fun 2021. This TBR is going to be quite a few books, but I currently feel up to the challenge.


The Books

TBR books stacked on a carpet in front of a basket and a plant.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, I had this on a TBR a few months ago, but sadly I ran out of hours in the month. I really want to read this horror for a few reasons. I am in the mood for some horror, I have read something else by this author and loved it and it just sounds amazing.

The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa – I am aiming to pick up my first book of reading a book off of my 2021 shortlist challenge, if you want to read more about that you can check that out here: Reading Challenge | Reading a Shortlist 2021.

Flowers of Mold by Ha Seong-nan – I am picking this up because it is the oldest book on my TBR and I am still interested in it. This is a collection of short stories so I should be able to read it quickly and enjoy myself!

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb, as started in my 2021 goals, which you can read in my post: Reading Challenge | 2021 Reading Goals, I want to read two of her trilogies this year, so I wanted to get a start on that. Especially since I have so many people telling me I am going to enjoy it.

The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans, this was one of my book of the month picks last month so I wanted to try and get to it this month. I look forward to reading this collection of short stories that touch on larger issues in modern day society.

Not Quite Out pictured amongst my plants.

Not Quite Out by Louise Willingham, I am so lucky to say I am on a blog tour for this book in February so I am planning on reading this gifted book in January so I can write up my honest review.


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month | December 2020

Hello and welcome to my BOTM unboxing. This month I ended up choosing two books instead of the standard one book. They really are starting to make it harder and harder to just pick one book because their choices have improved dramatically from when I first subscribed. Anyway, on to the books I picked!

The Books

The Office of Historical Corracerections by Danielle Evans

Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters’ lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters who are experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love, and getting walloped by grief—all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history—about who gets to tell them, and the cost of setting the record straight. –goodreads.com

This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith

On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn’t realize is that he’s not the only one who needs healing — and she’s not the only one with secrets. –goodreads.com


Why I Picked These Books

The main reason I decided to pick The Office of Historical Corrections was due to the focus on relationships. As of late I have really been enjoying books that seemed to focus on relationships between characters to tells a larger story that is larger than the characters as well as the readers. I feel like it is more impactful and I make more connections between the story and other moments in my life, whether that be to another story or something in my own life.

As for This Close to Okay, the same is particular the reason. The main characters seem like they are going to make a strong connection to one another which will lead to very impactful dialog. I also have been in the mood to read a book where a single moment is a turning point for a character.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Do these books sound interesting to you?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | November 2020

Hello and welcome to my November book haul. This past month I picked up a few books to finish out some 2020 reading challenges as well as finally getting my hands on a few books I have been very much looking forward to. I don’t want to drag on the introduction, so here are the books I picked up in November.

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma, this is the final book I need to read for my reading a shortlist challenge for 2020. I am really looking forward to this “contemporary twist on the Odyssey”. I have had to read the Odyssey quite a few times through my education so I am really excited to see how someone updated it and came it more modern.

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, I happened to come across this book while shopping one day. I saw the over and thought to myself, “this looks interesting”. Then I read the description and I really wanted to read it. It reminded me of the Tardis, the building being bigger on the inside. Plus they say if you like Neil Gaiman and Madeline Miller’s books, chances are you will enjoy this.

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger, now this one I have been waiting to come out for some time. I did a zoom event with an author named Megan Miranda who wrote The Girl from Widow Hills, whichI loved. The event was great we got to talk about our love of Ruth Ware and she recommended this book to us.

Women in Art by Rachel Ignotofsky, I have loved the work of this artist for some time. I used to have a whole thing of postcards with their art on them that I sent to people via postcrossing for a good amount of time. Well, I happened to see she had a book out talking about influential women of art and I needed to get it. PLUS IT WAS ON SALE!

Titan by Ron Chernow, I mainly picked this on up because I enjoyed reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton. I figured if he could keep me entertained for nearly 1000 pages and not bored while reading non-fiction I should check out his other works. Plus, John D. Rockefeller seemed to have a very interesting life from my current understanding.

A Promised Land by Barack Obama, I have been looking forward to this book since it was announced. So, I preordered it and now I have my hands on it.


What are some books you added to your TBR this past month?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | Last TBR of 2020

Hello and welcome to the final TBR of 2020, it is hard to believe I am writing that sentence honestly. While this year has been very difficult, it has felt slow, but also really fast to me. But, here we are, tis the season to write an end of the year TBR. I am going to be keeping it quite small this month, but I still have a few books I want to get to before 2021 comes our way.

Book stack of Lovecraft Country, The Changing, An Orchestra of Minorities, The Incarnations, and A Promised Land.

Love Craft Country by Matt Ruff, this first book on my TBR was picked by Erica for the Someone PicksMy Books series I have on my blog. I have to say, it took a lot of self control not to read this book sooner. I have been eyeing it since she picked it for me.

The Changeling Novel by Victor LaValle and The Incarnations by Susan Barker are both horrors I wished I had gotten to sooner. I feel like in general this TBR should have the theme, “books Luna should have gotten to sooner” honestly. But, both of these sounded really fascinating and I really want to read already.

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma is the last book I am reading for my reading a shortlist Man Booker challenge. I decided I am not going to be reading the sequel to the Handmaids Tale because I really don’t think she should have won. Anyway, I have been looking forward to An Orchestra of Minorities for a few reasons, the first being it is narrated by a guardian spirit and secondly a life changing event.

Lastly, I am planning on reading A Promised Land by Barack Obama. I had this book preordered at my local bookshop and did not get around to starting it in November, but I want to read it ASAP. I really loved his wives book and her story and I am interested in hearing his story in his won words as well.

There you have it, those are the five books I plan on reading before the end of the year. I am really hoping I am able to finish them all in time. I know my reading slowed down quite a bit the second half of November, but I hope this post motivates me a bit to get going and pick up a book!



What are you planning on reading before the end of 2020?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Olivia’s Catastrophe | Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! For November I was lucky enough to have Olivia from Olivia’s Catastrophe pick my book for me. She is very active over on her youtube channel, which is amazing, and twitter @oliviascatastro. I was so happy when she picked Clap When You Land, I heard nothing but amazing things and she even said she gave it 5 stars. I felt like this month was going to be a huge win.


One Sentence Review

A beautifully written exploration of the complexities of relationships and people, on top of that it explores the life of two half sisters that have no idea existed until they experience a life changing tragedy.

Description

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered. And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

Papi’s death uncovers all the painful truths he kept hidden, and the love he divided across an ocean. And now, Camino and Yahaira are both left to grapple with what this new sister means to them, and what it will now take to keep their dreams alive. -goodreads.com


What I Liked

Just a warning, this review is just going to be me gushing about a book I loved. This book is so beautifully written. I am actually surprised that I am saying this. Going into this book I had no idea that it was written in verse before I actually went to read it. I normally don’t do well with books written in this manner, but Acevedo really made it count in this book and not just a gimmick. The words were powerful, meaningful, and beautiful. You can see the authors care when it came to constructing each sentence and picking each word.

As for the two main characters, I really felt that the dual perspective worked wonderfully and we really were able to explore the lives of Camino and Yahaira. I really appreciated the fact that the author didn’t just tell us how different these half siblings lived, but showed us. I felt like while exploring the grief they had the author really opened up their worlds and made them dimensional. I really loved their personalities and I really enjoyed following them both. Normally when I read a dual or muliple perspective book there is one I am not too fond of, but in this book, I really enjoyed them both. I would not be sad to see another book with these two, I would love to see how they are doing. When I put down this book initially, I was thinking of all the possible situations they could be in now.

I also want to take a moment to appreciate that this author talked about a very difficult topic that in my opinion was very respectful, but also did not shy about from the difficult aspects as well.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, nothing. I really enjoyed reading this book and I am so happy that Olivia picked this one for me. I can see why she also gave it 5 stars.

Overall

Overall, I loved and adored this book so much. I have already recommended it to a few people in my life and will continue to do so. This book is a beautiful exploration of relationships, people, and family.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Erica who you can find on twitter as @2020hines_sight or on her youtube channel The Broken Spine. I am beyond thrilled to read her pick, I have been holding myself back from reading it too early for months!

Have you read this book before or is it on your TBR?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark | November 2020

Hello and welcome to my mid month reading check in! I cannot believe there is only a month and half left of 2020. This year has gone both very slow, but also very fast. I am glad to share that I have read a decent amount of books already and I am hoping that this continues the rest of the month and beyond. Any who, here are the books!


The Night is Darkening Round MeThe Night is Darkening Round Me by Emily Brontë
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was an interesting collection of poetry. While it was good, it is not my favorite collection.

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Envelope PoemsEnvelope Poems by Emily Dickinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved this collection of poems for two reasons. The first being the fact that this book includes scans of the original writing on the envelopes and also a typed version that is in the same format. It really makes her work feel more tangible and keep its authenticity. The second reason I loved this was because the poems themselves. I have never read her poetry before, but I can see why she is so popular now.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the CaféBefore the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never thought I could like a sequel as much as I loved this collection of stories. Toshikazu Kawaguchi is such a talented writer, being able to add so much atmosphere and elicit emotions so quickly is a true gift and talent.

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Transcendent KingdomTranscendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a lovely written book that deals with loss and an individuals journey to find answers and make sense of the world around her. This book talked about quite a few large topics, addiction, religion, and mental illness. I don’t want to say too much, but this author is very talented and I feel like this book will be one I think about from time to time and now just fade away.

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Clap When You LandClap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am currently having a hard time putting into words how great this book is. It explore the complexities of relationships and people, on top of that explore the life of two half sisters that have no idea they experience until a tragedy. More in depth review to come in my Someone Picks My Book series.

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The House in the Cerulean SeaThe House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved the setting, the plot, and the relationships within this story. The author did an amazing job in creating distinct and unique characters and giving them such great personalities. I felt like I was reading about actual people and not just characters. I have a feeling that this book is going to be at the top of the list for my favorite reads of 2020.

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I am currently reading Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas and The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. As I am writing this I am 20% into thee Cemetery Boys and I am already getting emotionally tied to the main character of this story. I am really looking forward to see what will happen. As for The Nickel Boys, I plan on starting it the day this post goes live. I really enjoyed The Underground Railroad a few years ago so I feel like I will enjoy this as well.


hat was the last book you read, did you like it?

How are your reading month coming along? 

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month | November 2020

Hello and welcome to my BOTM unboxing, I am not going to do a huge introduction to this post today, but I am excited to share what I picked this month. This month I added an add on book, which is great because you get to add a hardcover to your order for about $10, don’t quote me on that because I don’t remember the exact amount. But, I. ended. up getting aa horror and a contemporary romance that takes place in Italy. Since traveling this year is not a thing, maybe I can through a book! Anyway, on to he unboxing!


Books pictured on top of piece of wood

The Books

The Whisper Man by Alex North

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window… –goodreads.com

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

A trio of second-born daughters set out to break the family curse that says they’ll never find love on a whirlwind journey through the lush Italian countryside by New York Times bestseller Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.

Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than two hundred years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily-single baker at her grandfather’s Brooklyn deli, claim it’s an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it’s a true hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she’ll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her eightieth birthday, and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.

Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed—secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. -goodreads.com


Why I Picked These Books

The Whisper Man was mainly added to my TBR because I felt like I should read it before I read The Shadows by the same author. While you don’t need to read the other first, I have heard that there are some nods and I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my reading experience. On top of that I have heard really good things about this book so it can’t hurt to give it a go.

As for my other pick, Star-Crossed Sisters in Tuscany, the blurb said family curse and I was sold. There are a few phases that make a book an insta pick or buy for me and that is one of them. I am really curious to see where this book and plot take these sisters. I have never read a book by this author as well, so it will be fun to give their work a go, especially since their other books have been given pretty decent ratings.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | November 2020, Using a Prompt Generator

Hello and welcome to another TBR post, this month I decided to try something new and use a TBR prompt generator. I came across the website https://heyreader.me/random-prompt and thought it would be fun to give it a try. Anyway, on to this months picks!


First prompt is pick a book with a map. Well, the first book I picked up with a map happened to be The Devil in the Dark Water by Stuart Turton who wrote 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcase, which I absolutely loved. Plus, this only came out a few weeks ago so I am really happy it has a map in it.

Next we have pretty cover. Well, I cannot think of a more beautiful cover on my TBR other than The House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, online and in my day to day life. I am so glad I was able to fit this in as well. I am told I will really enjoy the dynamic between two of the characters.

For the third prompt we have published in the last year. For this one I decided to pick Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi . I really loved the first book in this series when I read it earlier this year and I cannot wait to get to this one. It came out a month or so ago. I can’t wait to read more about this magical cafe.

The fourth pick is a blue cover. I only have one blue book on my TBR currently and that is Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson. I have never read any of her poems that I can remember, but I picked this up because I have heard her poetry was really good. Plus, the edition I found was adorable.

The last prompt I picked was award winner. I decided to go with The Nickle Boys by Colson Whitehead. I read The Underground Railroad by this author a few years ago and thought it was brilliant. My edition of The Nickle Boys has a stamp that says, “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” so I am very happy that it fit into the prompts and I get to read it this month.


Now, as you know every month I have someone picks my books. Well, this month the book I am going to read was picked by Olivia who you can find on twitter at @oliviascatastro or youtube at Olivia’s Catastrophe. She picked Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and said she gave it 5 stars! So, I have a good feeling I am going to LOVE this book as well because she has such great taste in books.


What are you planning on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | September 2020

Welcome to my September wrap up, where I am going to be sharing all of the books I have read over the last month. This month I was so surprised that I have kept up my reading momentum and even got my physical TBR down to 10 books! I had some winners and some not so great reads, but overall a really good month!


Conjure WomenConjure Women by Afia Atakora
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a wonderful read that not only followed generations within a family, but also talked about how these generations were affected by slavery in the US. The plot, characters, and the whole novel were so well written and I was pulled in by the magic within the book, but also the magic of the writing.

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The Death of Vivek OjiThe Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful and heart breaking read that I read far too quickly. This is such a talented author, they were able to craft such a wonderfully heart wrenching novel about a family ties and LGBTQ+ treatment. This story from the first page pulled me in and I don’t cry often when I read. but this book had me tearing up. I don’t want to say too much because I feel like this book has a larger impact if you go in knowing less.

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The TestThe Test by Sylvain Neuvel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Overall, this was a very impactful book to me because it really makes you think about human nature, society, and a laundry list of other things such as prejudices and racism that are ingrained in society. I feel like this little story really packs so much into it that it shows the talent of the author. This will be a story I reread again I feel like and it will have a place on my bookshelf for the years to come.

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Stay with MeStay with Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story has so many layers to it and it ended up being so much more than I though it would be. This story had be filled with joy, sadness and anger. There are aspects of history mixed in with a the exploration of the marriage of Yejide and Akin. Yejide was such an interesting and compelling character, I really enjoyed reading from her perspective. I could feel her hurt, her joy, and so much more.

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State KillerI’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am going to be writing a whole post dedicated to this book in the near future, but I really was enthralled with this book and I can’t wait to see the documentary.

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EmmaEmma by .Jane Austen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I enjoyed this classic. It is not my favorite Austen novel, but I was pulled into the story despite how annoying and aggravating Emma can be.

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Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 0


Reading Stats

What was your favorite book this month?

Mine was The Hunger by Alma Katsu or Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin. 

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book of the Month | September 2020

Hello and welcome to another unboxing of my subscription of BOTM. This month I am happy to say I actually picked two books for my box and both just sound amazing! I honestly had a really hard time between all the awesome choices. One good things was they had Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson and if I had not bought it the day before I would have picked that one so I was able to pick another as well as a book from a previous month. Now, on to my picks and why I chose them!


Descriptions

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Gifty is a fifth year candidate in neuroscience at Stanford School of Medicine studying reward seeking behavior in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. Her brother, Nana, was a gifted high school athlete who died of a heroin overdose after a knee injury left him hooked on OxyContin. Her suicidal mother is living in her bed. Gifty is determined to discover the scientific basis for the suffering she sees all around her.

But even as she turns to the hard sciences to unlock the mystery of her family’s loss, she finds herself hungering for her childhood faith, and grappling with the evangelical church in which she was raised, whose promise of salvation remains as tantalizing as it is elusive. Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply moving portrait of a family of Ghanain immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief–a novel about faith, science, religion, love. Exquisitely written, emotionally searing, this is an exceptionally powerful follow-up to Gyasi’s phenomenal debut. -goodreads

The Shadows by Alex North

You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile–always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet–and inspired more than one copycat.

Paul Adams remembers the case all too well: Crabtree–and his victim–were Paul’s friends. Paul has slowly put his life back together. But now his mother, old and senile, has taken a turn for the worse. Though every inch of him resists, it is time to come home.

It’s not long before things start to go wrong. Reading the news, Paul learns another copycat has struck. His mother is distressed, insistent that there’s something in the house. And someone is following him. Which reminds him of the most unsettling thing about that awful day twenty-five years ago.

It wasn’t just the murder.

It was the fact that afterward, Charlie Crabtree was never seen again… -goodreads


Why I Picked These Books

When it comes to Transcendant Kingdom, I picked it because I have been really enjoying hard hitting emotional reads as of late. This book really tells the story of a woman who is spending her life trying to find a way to help her family while they suffer from mental illness, addiction, and loss. I think it will also explore the pressure this puts on Gifty and her struggles that come from this. Not only does this book peak my interest, so does the author. I have heard such wonderful things about this authors outstanding gift when it comes to writings and I just felt like I needed to pick up a book by them.

The second book I picked, The Shadows, was added to my book because I have been into true crime and horror a lot lately and this seemed like a fictional combination of these. On top of that, I have heard promising things about this authors works and I have not read anything by them before.


What was the most recent book added to your TBR?
Does this book sound interesting to you?

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