Reviews

REVIEW | The Familiars by Stacey Halls

BookReview12:17

* I received this book from publisher via netgalley for free in exchange for an honest review.*

The FamiliarsDescription

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.

Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.

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What I Liked

I would like to start off by saying, this is going to be one of these reviews where I just want to gush about a book and ramble. I am going to do my absolute best and actually write a review that makes sense.

The main thing I like about this historical fiction novel is the fact it doesn’t just take place in the past. I have read so many historical novels that just take place during a time period, but this novel really encapsulates the events, social order, societal expectations. The author embedded characters and people who were alive during the time period and even though this is a work of fiction you can tell that she did a lot of research and in knowledgeable about this period.

One part that I really like is how accurate she was when showing how women were treated during this period in time. I have read a few reviews that said that the main character is meek, but I have to respectfully disagree with this. During this period in time, if you were not meek and subservient as a women, SADLY, your life could be in serious danger depending on who your husband was. I found that even though that this character was controlled to an extent, she was also free and really pushed the barriers. A lot of women would have been deathly afraid or just did not think of doing a lot of the stuff Fleetwood has done. This historical fiction novel, like I said earlier, is pretty darn accurate historical fiction. Do I think this was good? No, but regrettably it is a great representation.

I also liked how class prejudices were lightly touched on, especially with the witch themes throughout this book. I felt that this book not only was accurate, but it also tried to show how wrong these social norms were.

Apart from the historical aspects of this novel, I really enjoyed the writing. I sat down in 3 sittings and I flew through this. It was fast paced, but did not jump in a way that made you think you missed something. I also enjoyed that it did not feel like the writing was modern, it was a nice touch and really added to the atmosphere of the book. I also felt genuine anger at some parts of the book and I felt myself tearing up at others. I really was rooting for Fleetwood and Alice.

What I Didn’t Like

The only fault I could even think about is not knowing more of what happened to a particular a character.

Overall Thoughts

If you could not tell, I really enjoyed this novel. I loved how period accurate it was and how the author used real names from the year that this is taking place. I also enjoy how she embodied the time period, but also exposed the issues that and pointed out how unfair the system was towards particular people. It is safe to say that I am preordering this novel.

Thank-you for listening to my gushing rambles!

5stars

Tweet showing how much I wanted to read this in less time:

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Author Links

Stacey Halls

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Book Information

Publication Date: February 19th 2019

Publisher: Mira Books

List Price: $26.99

ISBN: 9780778369189

Pages: 352 pages

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Hauls

Book Haul |Boxing Day 2018

BookHaul12:17

So, this will post likely be the last huge haul you will see for some time. I tend to stay away from the website bookoutlet, but boxing day always pulls me in. It is not that the website is bad or anything like that. I just tend to buy more books than I need or ones that are not really on my radar and then months pass and I end up unhauling them. I try not to do that so my wallet is a bit happier. But, every year on boxing day, day after Christmas, I put in an order of books that have piled up in my cart that I have had my eye on for some time. Without more of a delay, here are the books I picked up on Boxing day! Divider

DividerThe Books

The Good People by Hannah Kent

Based on true events in nineteenth century Ireland, Hannah Kent’s startling new novel tells the story of three women, drawn together to rescue a child from a superstitious community.
Nora, bereft after the death of her husband, finds herself alone and caring for her grandson Micheal, who can neither speak nor walk. A handmaid, Mary, arrives to help Nora just as rumors begin to spread that Micheal is a changeling child who is bringing bad luck to the valley. Determined to banish evil, Nora and Mary enlist the help of Nance, an elderly wanderer who understands the magic of the old ways.

Set in a lost world bound by its own laws, THE GOOD PEOPLE is Hannah Kent’s startling new novel about absolute belief and devoted love. Terrifying, thrilling and moving in equal measure, this follow-up to Burial Rites shows an author at the height of her powers. -goodreads

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

It’s 2003 and Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility, deep in California’s Central Valley. Outside is the world from which she has been severed: the San Francisco of her youth and her young son, Jackson. Inside is a new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners alike; and the deadpan absurdities of institutional living, which Kushner evokes with great humor and precision. -goodreads

Death in the Air by Kate Winkler Dawson

London was still recovering from the devastation of World War II when another disaster hit: for five long days in December 1952, a killer smog held the city firmly in its grip and refused to let go. Day became night, mass transit ground to a halt, criminals roamed the streets, and some 12,000 people died from the poisonous air. But in the chaotic aftermath, another killer was stalking the streets, using the fog as a cloak for his crimes.

All across London, women were going missing–poor women, forgotten women. Their disappearances caused little alarm, but each of them had one thing in common: they had the misfortune of meeting a quiet, unassuming man, John Reginald Christie, who invited them back to his decrepit Notting Hill flat during that dark winter. They never left.

The eventual arrest of the “Beast of Rillington Place” caused a media frenzy: were there more bodies buried in the walls, under the floorboards, in the back garden of this house of horrors? Was it the fog that had caused Christie to suddenly snap? And what role had he played in the notorious double murder that had happened in that same apartment building not three years before–a murder for which another, possibly innocent, man was sent to the gallows?

The Great Smog of 1952 remains the deadliest air pollution disaster in world history, and John Reginald Christie is still one of the most unfathomable serial killers of modern times. Journalist Kate Winkler Dawson braids these strands together into a taut, compulsively readable true crime thriller about a man who changed the fate of the death penalty in the UK, and an environmental catastrophe with implications that still echo today. -goodreads

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet

A journey into one of the most fascinating minds alive today—guided by the owner himself.

Bestselling author Daniel Tammet (Thinking in Numbers) is virtually unique among people who have severe autistic disorders in that he is capable of living a fully independent life and able to explain what is happening inside his head.

He sees numbers as shapes, colors, and textures, and he can perform extraordinary calculations in his head. He can learn to speak new languages fluently, from scratch, in a week. In 2004, he memorized and recited more than 22,000 digits of pi, setting a record. He has savant syndrome, an extremely rare condition that gives him the most unimaginable mental powers, much like those portrayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man.

Fascinating and inspiring, Born on a Blue Day explores what it’s like to be special and gives us an insight into what makes us all human—our minds.  -goodreads

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.– goodreads

An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard

There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.

In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney—a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it.

Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians. -goodreads 

The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences. -goodreads

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Hauls

Weeks in Review | November 4th-November 10th

a week in review

So, I am still trying to get back in the habit of writing here, it is funny how 2 weeks without a computer gets you so out of wack. I should be picking up my new one within the next week, fingers crossed. While I am waiting for that and I was able to borrow one temporarily I thought I would continue on sharing what I read this week, what I acquired, some stats and what I have written.

DividerBooks I Finished

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I ended up liking this book so much more than I thought I would. I normally rarely read about celebrities or actors I like in real life, so I always thought, “Why would I care about one that didn’t even exist?”. Well, I have to say that this book proved that point wrong. Within the first chapter I was already hooked. They methods used by the author to tell Evelyn Hugo’s story were wonderful and made it feel so tangible. Not only did the author tell an addicting story of this woman, but she told a story of so much more than that. That is the part of the story I did not expect and loved. The author did some great things with this book and I highly recommend.

5stars

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

So, since I have been slowly collecting these Hufflepuff editions I have been wanting to reread these stories all over again and tab them up. Well, this week I finally did it because I stopped myself from feeling guilty about rereading when I have so many others I need to get to on my shelf. I am so glad that I stopped caring and did. This story continues to be a 5 star read.

5stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

So, not only did I reread one of the Harry Potter books, I reread this one as well. I read them both in two days and it was magical. I wish I had more time this week to continue. I think I will go for one a month at least in the next few so I can tab more of my books up. Then when more Hufflepuff editions come out I can transfer them.

5stars

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters by Anne Boyd Rioux

Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters

If you have been around for any point on my blog you will know I love Little Women with all of my heart. This pasty summer I was lucky enough to visit the house in which it was written. While I was there I picked up this book and I finally read it for Nonfiction November. I found a lot of this book to be wonderful, I learned a lot about Louisa and her family even though I have read about her in the past. Part 2 and 3 are better considered a historiography of the story and how it was viewed as a book throughout time, which I loved! I think some parts I could have done without, but overall I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about this story and the women who penned it.

4stars

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

I happened to put this on hold at my library after watching an interview of these two. While I have been a fan of both of these humans for years I never really read much about them. When it became available I picked it up and dived right in. I really liked the way this book is told as if it is a conversation. You get true picture of their relationship and their personalities. It gives the story life and it made me fly right thorough it. I you are interesting in either one of these humans I highly suggest picking up this comedic memoir.

4stars

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The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

I have had this book on hold at my library since I read Practical Magic a few months ago. So far I am really enjoying this prequel and I am already mad because I am emotional about the events that have happened already. How does Alice Hoffman get me like this every time I read one of her books? Once again it is a magical story of a family that you can’t held but love and root for.

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

A Noise DownstairsI am barely into this book because I am a horribly buddy-reader this week. I have read about 9% and I am already curious to see where this novel goes. I have no doubt that this is going to be a wild book that will cause me to gasp in shock a few times.

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Books Added

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker's Daughter
I decided to pick up this novel because I have been hearing so many great things about it. I also feel like I am going to want a larger read for the winter time. I loved that this teased a but of a mystery, but also the fact that it is set in the past and I love a good historical fiction.

“My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?” –goodreads.com

Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing by Lauren Beukes

Slipping: Stories, Essays, & Other Writing

I came across this author a few years ago when I was either reading about Stephen Kings recommended books/authors or when I was looking at his twitter feed, sadly I cannot remember. Since then I have read 2 of her books and wow, they are a trip. She is a gift author and when I saw this edition on sale I knew I needed to get my hands on it. She is a great thriller writer and I feel like she is not talked about enough at times.

“A Punk Lolita fighter-pilot rescues Tokyo from a marauding art installation. A young architect’s life is derailed by an inquisitive girl who happens to be a ghost. Loyalty to a favorite product can be addictive when it gets under your skin.

In her edgy and satiric debut collection, award-winning South African author Lauren Beukes (The Shining Girls) never holds back. Ranging from Johannesburg to outer space, Beukes is a fierce and captivating presence in the literary landscape.” –goodreads.com

For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

For Better and Worse

This was my Book of the Month pick of November, the reason I picked this book out of all the others was simply the description. How can I not want to read about a couple that plans the perfect murder and not want to read that happens and ensues from there? Also, I was curious to see how the author portrays their son who sadly is a victim of an awful crime.

Till death do us part

When they fell in love back in law school, Natalie and Will Clarke joked that they were so brilliant, together they could plan the perfect murder. After fifteen rocky years of marriage, they had better hope they’re right.

Their young son Jacob’s principal is accused of molesting a troubled student. It’s a horrifying situation—and the poison spreads rapidly. One night before bed, Jacob tells Natalie he is a victim, too. In that moment, her concept of justice changes forever. Natalie decides the predator must die.

To shelter Jacob from the trauma of a trial, Natalie concocts an elaborate murder plot and Will becomes her unwilling partner. The Clarkes are about to find out what happens when your life partner becomes your accomplice—and your alibi. “-goodreads.com 

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Hauls

Book Haul |September & October 2018

BookHaul12:17

So I have been a bit slow with sharing what books I have been adding to my TBR and collection. So I thought it was time to do a bit of a haul. When I looked back I realized that I have not done one since about August. So I am combining the months of September and October. Over this time I have added some YA, non-fiction, thrillers, and historical fictions into my life. Without more of a delay, here are the books.

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Novels

In the Hurricane’s Eye by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown

This was my Book of the Month pick for October, Nonfiction is not a category that is always present in the picks so I as soon as I saw it I picked on it right away and added it to my box. Yorktown has been a famous battle for many years and I hear it mentioned a lot, but I sadly cannot say I know what happened there in any great detail. I do know that it was something that was thought to be impossible and for that amount of coordination to happen during that time period was unheard of, sadly they did not have GPS or cell phones. I am excited to finally learn more detailed about this miraculous battle.

“Here is the story of the remarkable year leading up to the siege of Yorktown. It sets Washington against his traitorous nemesis Benedict Arnold and places him in impossible situations and constant acrimonious negotiation with his French allies, along with his young protégé, the Marquis de Lafayette and his energetic general Nathanael Greene. In a narrative that moves from the ship-crowded waters off Newport, Rhode Island, to a wooded hillside near North Carolina’s Guilford Courthouse, to the Dutch storehouses on the Caribbean island of St. Eustatius, Philbrick narrates the pivotal naval battle that brought the end of America’s long, elusive path to independence. It was an improbable triumph made possible by Washington’s brilliant strategy, leadership, and revolutionary use of sea power.” – goodreads.com

The Silence of Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

This was my Book of the Month pick for September. I was very interesting in this retelling, historical fiction if you will, of the impact of war on women. Throughout history women have been impacts by the wars and political upheaval. These women were were caught in the middle or right in the center of it. I thought it would be an interesting view point, in addition, I am interested in Greek myths and also history. While this is not a nonfiction read, it does pull from history and I am curious to see how she depicts how women were affected.

“The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman: Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war’s outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.

When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and coolly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis’s people, but also of the ancient world at large.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war–the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead–all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives–and it is nothing short of magnificent.” –goodreads.com

Into a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware

In a Dark, Dark Wood

I was so surprised when I was able to find this at the used bookstore by me. This was the last Ruth Ware book that I needed to read to be able to officially say that I have read every one that has been published. She really is one of my favorite authors and she does deliver a thriller. This one was very interesting since she made it feel more like a play than her other works, like we were watching one unfold. I love this.

“Nora hasn’t seen Clare for ten years. Not since Nora walked out of school one day and never went back.

There was a dark, dark house

Until, out of the blue, an invitation to Clare’s hen do arrives. Is this a chance for Nora to finally put her past behind her?

And in the dark, dark house there was a dark, dark room

But something goes wrong. Very wrong.

And in the dark, dark room….

Some things can’t stay secret for ever.” –goodreads.com

The Dark Tower I : The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

The main reason why  I ended up picking up this book was because I found it at a used bookstore and I thought for the price of $3 it was worth a try. I was very skeptical about it, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. I really thought it was going to be more like a western, but it really wasn’t. I am really glad I gave it a try and I think in the future I will be getting this series from the library.

“A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.” –goodreads.com

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

So, I picked up this book mainly because I wanted to take part in the BN book club that happens quarterly. I really enjoy going to those discussions and hearing all the different view points, that are respectful. I have read about 150 pages of this book and I really was enjoying it. I thought the style was interesting and it was well executed. Sadly, I ended up loosing the book! Since then I have placed a hold at my local library and I hope to have my hands on it soon.

“The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship–like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor–April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world–everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires–and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight.

Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.” –goodreads.com

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

This month I finally decided to pick up A Very Large Expanse of Sea for a few reasons. The first being when I watched the interview of Mafi talking about this book I could feel her passion about its message very clearly in her words. I could also see that she put some of herself in the characters and I loved that as well. The second part being that I really have been wanting to hear a story like this and I am very happy to have it.

“It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.” –goodreads.com

 

DividerGraphic Novels

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by King, Furth, David, Lee and Isanove

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

I will admit, I mainly picked this up to compare it to the novel. I thought it would be something interesting to do on top of reading a graphic novel. As of late I have finished my more “fluffy” less intense reads on my shelf. So I wanted to add a few more to my shelves. I came across this at a discounted rate so I am very pleased.

“‘The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.’ With those words, millions of readers were introduced to Stephen King’s Roland ‘ an implacable gunslinger in search of the enigmatic Dark Tower, powering his way through a dangerous land filled with ancient technology and deadly magic. Now, in a comic book personally overseen by King himself, Roland’s past is revealed! Sumptuously drawn by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, adapted by long-time Stephen King expert, Robin Furth (author of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Concordance), and scripted by New York Times Bestseller Peter David, this series delves in depth into Roland’s origins ‘ the perfect introduction to this incredibly realized world; while long-time fans will thrill to adventures merely hinted at in the novels. Be there for the very beginning of a modern classic of fantasy literature!” –goodreads.com

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home by King, Furth, David, Lee and Isanove

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home

Would you believe me if I said that I also got Vol. 2 on discount as well. I really had a lot of luck with finding discounted books this past two months and I could not be more excited about it. I figured while I have not read Vol. 1 yet, in case I did it was better to get it now.

“The second collection of the best-selling comic-book series, inspired by Stephen King’s epic The Dark Tower! Gunslinger Roland Deschain has seen the death of his lover Susan Delgado. And the Big Coffin Hunters who burned her at the stake are now in pursuit of Roland and his ka-tet Cuthbert and Alain. The friends are forced to flee into the desert with the deadly posse in hot pursuit….and Roland is in a coma! Don’t miss the next chapter in the saga of the Gunslinger whose quest for the Dark Tower will shake the foundation of reality itself!” –goodreads.com

The Dark Tower: Treachery by King, Furth, David, Lee and Isanove

The Dark Tower: Treachery

Surprise! I found Vol. 3 on discount as well, for all three I paid less than the original price. I would call that a win. Once again I am taking a huge shot on this and I am curious to see how they relate to the novel series or if they follow the story line at all. I do know that I am happy to take the chance on these graphic novels.

“The ka-tet of Roland, Alain, and Cuthbert have returned safely to their home in Gilead. But all is not well. Roland has kept the evil Maerlyn’s Grapefruit and has become obsessed with peering into its pinkish depths despite the deadly toll it’s taken on his health. And what the young gunslinger sees brings him the darkest of nightmares. Meanwhile, Roland’s father has led a posse in search of those who threatened his son’s life in Hambry – John Farson and the Big Coffin Hunters. And in this encounter, Stephen Deschain’s life may be forfeit.” –goodreads.com

DividerFrom Publishers and Authors

Gazelle in the Shadows by Michelle Peach

Gazelle in the Shadows

I was approached by the authors publicist to get a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I accepted this book because I was interested in the thriller aspect that is given in the description.  I am happy to tell you that I just finished this book and I will be posting a review in the near future.

“In the mid 90s, Elizabeth Booth is a young British college student studying Arabic at Durham University. With some travel and work already under her belt, she excels at her studies and is sent to Damascus to immerse herself in the language. Taken aback by the generosity and kindness of the people there, she easy slips into a life in the ancient city. She has friends, her studies, and even a handsome boyfriend. But things aren’t always what they seem. Soon, in a world where mistrust and disloyalty are commonplace, Elizabeth finds herself navigating a web of lies, betrayals, and even murder involving MI6, deadly terrorist factions, and the shadowy Syrian secret police.” –goodreads.com

Caleb’s Window by John J. Siefring

Caleb's Window

This book I am really excited about sharing with you. I was approached by the author to read and give an honest review his book. I accepted this because the story seemed like a wonderful coming of age story, but also the story of a family taking changes. I am about halfway thought this book currently and as soon as I am finished I will have a review up for all of you.

“Born in the village of Easkey, Ireland just before World War II, Cara Brannan dreams of becoming a nurse and starting a new life in America. Her mother, an Irish suffragette, encourages Cara to set goals and be fiercely independent. She moves to Dublin and begins nurses training at Saint John’s Hospital, forging friendships and encountering obstacles as a young single woman. Then she meets Aiden Whyte. Like-minded, Cara and Aiden join forces, marry, and journey to the States as newlyweds.

Welcoming their son Caleb into the world, Cara embraces motherhood. As a new mother and nurse in New York City, she struggles, facing class conflict, gender and career barriers, as well as loneliness. Cara endures because of her strength of character, compassion, and an irrepressible joy of life.

As Caleb comes of age, it’s his turn to carve out a place for himself during the late 1960s—a time of turbulence, protest, and incredible change. He finds New York to be a challenge but filled with opportunity.

Caleb’s Window will quietly move into your heart and mind, remaining long after you turn the final page.” –goodreads.com

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What was the last book you acquired?

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Wrap Up

A Week in Review | September 1st-8th

a week in review

This week I did not finish a single book, but I did do a great deal of reading. I started three different books, two are buddy reads so I will be reading those all month long. The last one I plan on finishing early next week. Anyway, even though I didn’t finish any books, but I did read a total of 607 pages.

I am Still Reading

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart's Invisible Furies

I have been wanting to read this for about a year and I am so glad that I started reading it. So many people have told me that they have really enjoyed this novel, but it is heart breaking. Even though I am only 150 pages in, I can already see what they all mean. I am loving it so much, but it really and truly hurts my heart. I am looking forward to see where this story is going and to see if my predictions come true.

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

The Tommyknockers

This book has been on my owned TBR shelf the longest of all of my books for a few reasons. The first being that it is one of the largest I have yet to read by Stephen King. The second reason being I was kinda on the fence if I would like it. The description of this novel leaves me intrigued, but I was not really drawn to read it right away. Now that I am 400 pages into it, I can safely say that I am enjoying it and I wish I did not put it off this long. I still have hundreds of pages left, but I do see myself continuing to enjoy it.

Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson

Hangsaman

I am about a fourth of the way through this novel and so far I am really enjoying it. I only picked this up recently, with about 4 other works by her. I just love her work. So far this is not letting me down in any shape, way, or form. I am enjoying her plot and I can’t wait to read even more. Also, may I add that I love the covers of Penguin Modern Classics?

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NEXT BOOK

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1)

I recently received this audiobook from my Library after being on hold since it released earlier in the year. I have about another week and a half to listen to it before it returns itself so I want to get to it ASAP, but I wanted to finish The Tommyknockers first. I am really looking forward to reading another book by Holly Black. I have enjoyed her writing very much in the past and I don’t see how this one could be any different. Fingers crossed!

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TBR

July TBR | 2018

ToBeRead12:17This month my TBR is going to be a little more than what I normally do. The reason being is that I am so excited about the #NEWTsReadathon that is happening in August and in preparation I am participating in the #OWLsReadathon for the second time with Amy. This month I am going to try and complete all the OWLs I never sat, or at least try to. If you want to see how my first round went you can check that out here: Wrap Up| Magical Readathon OWLs Exams.

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DividerThe Books

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith

The Book of Tarot: A Guide for Modern Mystics by Danielle Noel

Greek Myths: A Wonder Book For Girls & Boys by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Walter Crane 

The Last Equation of Isaac Severy by Nova Jacobs

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (Not Pictured)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer

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What do you plan on reading this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | June 2018

WrapUp12:17

We are officially more than halfway through the year, I am in awe of how fast time is going. This month I am happy to say I read or started books I have been putting off for some time. My reading was very much all over the place ranging from children’s classics to horror. Each book I wrote a little tiny blurb about my feelings, some have more written than others, but none left me unhappy and I did not DNF one book this month. Without any more delay, here is what I read in the month of June!

Books I Finished

Your Soul is a River by Nikita Gill

Your Soul is a River
This was one of the best poetry collections I have ever read, it was wonderful and the imagery used was outstanding.

The Universe Has Your Backby Gabrielle Bernstein

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith
This was not bad at all, but it was an average self help book. I didn’t really take anything much away from it, but I can see this being good for individuals who have never read a self help book.

Perdy Volume 1 by Kickliy

Perdy Volume 1

This graphic novel is very crude, mature audiences only. I found myself laughing throughout.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

A Little Princess

Very adorable story, at times it was heart breaking. I will admit the writing style was not my favorite, but I enjoyed the plot.

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent

Lying in Wait

I loved this thriller! If you want to see all of my thoughts, you can check out my full review: REVIEW | Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent.

In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult by Rebecca Stott

In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult

This was such a wonderful story to hear. I loved how this novel didn’t just tell the story of one, but the story of a family and their collective story. If you are looking for a non-fiction biography/memoir you should look into this book.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

The Pillars of the Earth

I finally did it, I finished this novel! I ended up very much enjoying it, the characters felt so real and I found myself really connected to them. I will warn you this historical fiction novel is very realistic to the point where many crimes that were sadly very common back during this time period are depicted such as rape, assault, and more. If this is not a problem for you I highly suggest picking this up.

 

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I am Still Reading

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2

I am currently reading this book with ___________. So far I am enjoying this novel so much more than I originally though I would. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina

I am slowly making my way through this classic, I am very much enjoying it. It reads a lot easier than I have previously anticipate and the story line, at least so far, see like one that it timeless. I am so happy I finally got to reading this classic.

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What was the best book you read this month?

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Wrap Up

Currently Reading | June 2018

CurrentlyReading12:17

Hi everyone! Once again I have got myself in a reading pickle. I am reading about 5 books at the same time. I thought it might help me to share what I am in the middle of and see if I can finish them all one by one before starting another book.

DividerIn The Days of Rain by Rebecca Stott

In the Days of Rain: A Daughter, a Father, a Cult

I am loving this non-fiction account of a young girl and her family living as members of a cult. I was recommended this book by Amy from tomeswithtea when I asked her to pick my books, you can see more information here: Haul | Book Buddy Picks My Books.

Description: Rebecca Stott was born a fourth-generation Brethren she grew up in England, in the Brighton branch of the Exclusive Brethren cult in the early 1960s. Her family dated back to the group’s origins in the first half of the nineteenth century, and her father was a high-ranking minister. However, as an intelligent, inquiring child, Stott was always asking dangerous questions and so, it turns out, was her father, who was also full of doubt. When a sex scandal tore the Exclusive Brethren apart in 1970, her father pulled the family out of the cult. But its impact on their lives shaped everything before and all that was to come. -goodreads.com

DividerAnna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina

I am slowly reading this classic through the app called Serial Reader, I am not sponsored by them, but I love this app so much. They send you about 10 min of reading of a classic per day. You can pick from there ever growing collection and even better is that if you are loving the story you can skip ahead as well. This will take about 2 months to get through if I don’t skip ahead. Most likely, I will.

Description: Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Kareninaprovides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay. -goodreads.com

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NOS4A2

I am currently buddying reading this horror novel with Amy, Jenna and Reg. I am loving it so much and I may or may not be reading ahead because it is so hard to hold off reading this one.

Descriptions: Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

Then, one day, Vic goes looking for trouble—and finds Manx. That was a lifetime ago. Now Vic, the only kid to ever escape Manx’s unmitigated evil, is all grown up and desperate to forget. But Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son. -goodreads.com

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The Pillars of the Earth

I feel like I have been reading this book forever, but I have been reading so much for buddy reads, a book for work, and other audiobooks that I have been getting from my library that have a time frame. Since this book does not have a time frame I keep putting it off. It annoys me so much because this books is so beautifully written and so much is happening. I NEED to finish this ASAP.

Descriptions: Everything readers expect from Follett is here: intrigue, fast-paced action, and passionate romance. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth extraordinary is the time the twelfth century; the place feudal England; and the subject the building of a glorious cathedral. Follett has re-created the crude, flamboyant England of the Middle Ages in every detail. The vast forests, the walled towns, the castles, and the monasteries become a familiar landscape. Against this richly imagined and intricately interwoven backdrop, filled with the ravages of war and the rhythms of daily life, the master storyteller draws the reader irresistibly into the intertwined lives of his characters into their dreams, their labors, and their loves: Tom, the master builder; Aliena, the ravishingly beautiful noblewoman; Philip, the prior of Kingsbridge; Jack, the artist in stone; and Ellen, the woman of the forest who casts a terrifying curse. From humble stonemason to imperious monarch, each character is brought vividly to life.

The building of the cathedral, with the almost eerie artistry of the unschooled stonemasons, is the center of the drama. Around the site of the construction, Follett weaves a story of betrayal, revenge, and love, which begins with the public hanging of an innocent man and ends with the humiliation of a king. -goodreads.com

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The Poppy War

I just opened up this book thanks to a twitter poll. I tend to not be able to pick between starting one of two books, so thanks to those of you who always vote, I really appreciate it. If you like answering polls and want to see what my reading is like you are more than welcome to follow me on twitter. I am @BookishLuna.

 

Description: When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late -goodreads.com

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What book(s) are you currently reading?

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Lists & Recommendations

Recommendations | Stephen King

Recs

So I have never done a recommendation post and I thought I would give it a try. This post is going to be sharing my favorite Stephen King novels and maybe help steer you in the right direction. If you don’t know already Stephen King has A TON of books out and is still writing. In fact he came out with a new book this month, 2 this year. So with such a large collection it is hard to find a place to start. So I am hoping that this might help you if you are interested in his books, but are lost on where to begin.

Bag of Bones (Standalone)

Bag of Bones

Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra’s struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here—and what do they want of Mike Noonan?

It is no secret that King is one of our most mesmerizing storytellers. In Bag of Bones, he proves to be one of our most moving as well. -goodreads

This was the first Stephen King book I ever read and I stand by it even after reading more than 10 of his books. It paranormal in essence, but also the story itself has a ton of backstory that is explained. I found myself loving the “history” behind the story. It also has characters that you find yourself really caring about and invested. I would start with this one if you either like domestic thrillers or ghost stories in general. 

11/22/63 (Standalone)

11/22/63

Life can turn on a dime—or stumble into the extraordinary, as it does for Jake Epping, a high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine. While grading essays by his GED students, Jake reads a gruesome, enthralling piece penned by janitor Harry Dunning: fifty years ago, Harry somehow survived his father’s sledgehammer slaughter of his entire family. Jake is blown away…but an even more bizarre secret comes to light when Jake’s friend Al, owner of the local diner, enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination. How? By stepping through a portal in the diner’s storeroom, and into the era of Ike and Elvis, of big American cars, sock hops, and cigarette smoke… Finding himself in warmhearted Jodie, Texas, Jake begins a new life. But all turns in the road lead to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald. The course of history is about to be rewritten…and become heart-stoppingly suspenseful. -goodreads.com

This is great if you like historical fiction. While it is a retelling of historical events like many historical fiction novels, it has a Stephen King twist. Loving history I read/listened to this book quickly. I listened to parts, the audiobook is done very well, and read others. I felt that it was a great mixture of historical and science fiction. It also had a few parts that made me reflect a bit on society and human nature a bit. I would start here if you like historical fiction or science fiction. 

Mr. Mercedes (Trilogy) 

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #1)

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

Brady Hartsfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with two new, unusual allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands. -goodreads.com

This trilogy is another great place to start. After reading a bit of his work you can see that overall his story always have a sinister and not so human twist, but he has different types of writing. Some that focus on humanity (thriller like) and others that focus a lot on the paranormal (ghost and monster like). This trilogy is more a human focused and I would recommend starting here if you really like thrillers or mysteries.

The Shining (Duology) 

The Shining

This tale of a troubled man hired to care for a remote mountain resort over the winter, his loyal wife, and their uniquely gifted son slowly but steadily unfolds as secrets from the Overlook Hotel’s past are revealed, and the hotel itself attempts to claim the very souls of the Torrence family. Adapted into a cinematic masterpiece of horror by legendary Stanley Kubrick — featuring an unforgettable performance by a demonic Jack Nicholson –The Shining stands as a cultural icon of modern horror, a searing study of a family torn apart, and a nightmarish glimpse into the dark recesses of human weakness and dementia. -goodreads.com

Now The Shining for me is “classic” Stephen King. I don’t mean classic in the way that it is one of his first published works, but rather that it has a little bit of everything that he has to offer. Especially more so since it has in the more recent years been expanded more on.  It is creepy, has both his humanity style and his paranormal style. This for me is one of my favorite stories I have read for him. I may be a little bit biased because when I was little I was obsessed with the 6 hour TV version of this, but I think it is a great story and a good way to test to see if you like his work. Overall, I would say that if you want a sample of his work it is good to read this. Divider

I hope that some of you find this post helpful and interesting. I had a lot of fun going through my collection and picking a few of his books that I thought were good starts. Aren’t you glad I did not recommend It as a place to start? If you have anymore questions or idea please let me know I would be more than happy to hear.

Have you read Stephen King? What book was your favorite by him?

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Revisiting

Revisiting| _____ Picks My Books

revisiting

So, the last few months I have had a series called “_______ Picks My Books”. This has been such a huge adventure for me. If you want to take a peak into my adventure you can read the posts in this series here: Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books Haul | Bookseller Picks My Books and Haul | Book Buddy Picks My Books.

I have been sharing my hauls from this series with you, but I never really shared the aftermath of the hauls so I though it would be fun to share what has happened since the books have been added to my shelves. In this post I am only going to be focusing on the first two of the series since I have had time to get to them. I am about to pick up one of the books from Book Buddy Picks My Books, I swear Amy! Anyway, without more of a delay here we go!

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Haul | Boyfriend Picks My Books Revisited

In this haul my boyfriend picked out three books for me. The First Pick By Gaslight by Steven Price, the second pick was Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba, and the last one was Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire.

18302455

Death Note: Black Edition, Vol. 1

Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Gaslight was featured in my post Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter April 2018. To focus on By Gaslight, I ended up unhauling this book. For me I was more into the idea of the book than the writing style. The writing style made it difficult for me to get into and I did not want to push through a 700 page book to see if I would like the story. The main issue I had was that it was difficult to tell if the person was having internal or external dialogue.

Hiddensee had much the same issue for me. I really like the idea of the book, but the writing style was not for me. I may in the future try the audiobook version, but who knows what will happen.

The last book my boyfriend picked for me was Deathnote… I LOVED THIS! I am still in the process of reading this series, but I am loving it I am currently on Volume 4. This was a total win for  him. Overall, while I did not like a majority of this haul I count it as a success because I found a series I really like.

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Haul | Bookseller Picks My Books  Revisited

In this haul the bookseller picked Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon and The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This experiment was a bit harder for me since I was asking a stranger who has no idea who I was and what my reading tastes were. So I was anxious as to how this would unfold.

The Pillars of the Earth

Everything, Everything

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first book that she picked recommended to me was The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Now, if you follow me on goodreads you will see I am currently about 200 pages into this book. I have to admit this book is HUGE, but I am really liking it. The writing style is perfect and I love how there are so many intertwined stories. I even picked up the second book in the series because I knew I would want to continue. This was a total win.

The second book was a YA book I have been hearing about for years, but I never picked up for one reason or another. Everything, Everything was featured in my post WRAP UP | March 2018. Overall, I really liked it. While I can understand why some people have problems with it, I wont say more because…spoilers! But, I read it quickly, a single day in fact. So this was another win for this awesome bookseller.

DividerThis series has been so much fun and I am looking forward to doing more of then. I have gotten out of my book comfort zone and I have found some real gems. I also want to thank-you guys for enjoying them too. Anyway, let me know what you thought about this little revisit.

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