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Someone Picks My Books | Basement Bookcase | A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Someone Picks My Books

Hello and welcome to another one of my Someone Picks my Books post! This month Melinda over at Basement Bookcase has picked my read. This month I was given the task of reading A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, which you most likely got from the title of this post. Now, this is very far from what I normally read. It is the start of  series, it’s young adult, and it is fantasy. Now, I do enjoy high fantasy, but I am very finicky when it comes to this genre. Going into this book I was both excited, but worried to say the least.


Book Description

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

First off I would like to say, I am surprised it has taken my this long to give this book a go. I have been blogging for years and this is well loved by many. I have thought that this book is based on a very interesting idea of there being multiple versions of the world, specifically London where some are filled with magic. That is one thing I will give V.E. Schwab a lot of credit for, this idea was thought up by someone with a very entertaining imagination.

The world building on this book was spot on and I felt like it really set the scene for the rest of the series. Not only did Schwab create various versions of London, they came up with a system for traveling between them. Everything they created was unique and intriguing. I kind of wish that there was even more of this because I enjoyed it so much.

Also, I will openly admit I am a sucker for magic being present in a book. If it is even hinted at in a blurb or description I am most likely going to pick it up. As with the world building, the magic is very unique and I loved the way it was used in this book.

What I Didn’t Like

The one thing that stood out to me was I did not care about the characters in the slightest. While reading I was just indifferent and along for the ride. I was more invested in the world created by Schwab than the various people. For me, this is a bit of a bummer because I read more so for the people than anything else. But, if you read for the world building, you will not be disappointed.

Overall

Overall, I felt that this book was average for me. Not amazing and not bad at all, it was just in the middle. I enjoyed the world, but I was not invested in the plot or the characters. I was just someone following along. Now, this could be because as I stated earlier I don’t read a lot of YA anymore and I am annoying specific when it comes to fantasy. I really did enjoy the world building in this novel and I feel like Schwab has a lot of talent when it comes to this. I will say I am happy that I gave it a try and finally read it. I always had the feeling of “Fear of Missing Out” when it came to this series, now that question has been answered. Thank you for picking my book Melinda!

3stars


Next month I am reading a book that is picked by Tay one of the duo running Frayed Books! I am really looking forward to her pick and to find out if I will like it or not.

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

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | May 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to this months reading wrap up! This month has been a stand out for me for this year and not for the best reasons. This year I have managed to read double digits every single month before this month, this month I struggled to read what I did read. I am not really sure what the reason was, I was not in a reading slump. I think I was just tired, I am not really sure how to explain it. I tried to turn it around in the later part of the month by doing a challenge, you can read about that in my post called, Challenge | One Week Reading Before Bed. This was nice because it kind of restarted my habit of reading, I am thankful I gave it a go. Well, even though this was not the best reading month, I still managed to read a few books and here they are!


Read 2

The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Since this is the fifth book in the series, I don’t want to say so much. But, I will say that this is a wonderful continuation of the series. As always the writing is wonderful, the research put in is apparent, and the characters are still written amazingly.

View all my reviews


The Taming of the Shrew (Barnes  Noble Shakespeare)The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this was a pretty alright read. There were parts that I really disliked about this play. First how t8765423533523242e “shrew” is treated really kinda pissed me off to no end. I might have annotated this with a few “WTF!” throughout. I did like the other aspects such as the “pretending”, I wont say more than this because I don’t want to ruin this play for others. Honestly, part of me wants to rate this lower than I have as more time passes. Might come back and do that.

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MooncakesMooncakes by Suzanne Walker

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was such a wonderful graphic novel. I loved the relationship characters, a plot through and through.

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MiddlegameMiddlegame by Seanan McGuire

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I actually wrote up a whole review on this book for a my series called, Someone Picks My Books. If you want to hear all of my thoughts and why I enjoyed it so much please check out my review here: Someone Picks My Books | Evelyn Reads | Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

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The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a fantastic end to the series and it took some surprising turns and new characters. I felt like a lot of growth happened between book 2 and 3 for quite a few characters as well. I really liked how a lot was resolved, but also the ending leaves a lot open as well to let you think of what might have happened.

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Northanger AbbeyNorthanger Abbey by Jane Austen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really loved the use of novels and story telling throughout this novel and how it impacted the main characters imagination. This was a very good novel and I enjoyed reading it immensely. I might even like this more than Pride and Prejudice.

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Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 10


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

How did you do in your OWLs? 

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Reviews

2020 Shakespeare Challenge | April

Shakespeare

Hello and welcome to the April edition of the 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, you can find my original post with an explanation here: Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge.This has been the best month for Shakespeare so far here in 2020. I will warn you, this month might just be a gush fest, which I never thought would have happened when I dreamed up this challenge for myself last year. Before we jump into this review/discussion I just want link to the goodreads group 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. Now, on to Macbeth!


The Book

This months story Macbeth in my eyes is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It is referred too so often, even by those who have never even heard the play because it has continued to be a part of pop culture. This play is thought to be first preformed around 1606, so it is quite old.


My Review

So like I said, this review is going to be a huge gush fest and I am not sorry. I honestly never thought I would be gushing about a Shakespeare play, but here we are. I annotated this book up and down and I think it is one of my most written in books that I own.

What I really liked about this book was all of the subtle references to various gods/demons that you may not normally know unless you know their symbols and such. There is an obvious mention of Hecate and Beelzebub, but there is also hints to The Morrigan. But, with both of these if you are not familiar with their stories a lot can be lost. Hecate is the goddess of witchcraft, moon, and ghosts. Which, in this play are very common themes that were very interesting and engaging.

Two things t really stood out to me, is the use of use of three and the paradoxes used in this play. The three witches, saying things three time for effect such as the Second Apparition and Macbeth in Act 4, Scene 1, Doctor and Lady Macbeth  in Act 5, Scene 1, and Macbeth in Act 5, Scene 5 just to name some outside of the witches themselves. Now, the paradox’s in this play are throughout, but a few of the examples I can easily find are Macbeth and his wife being great and wonderful hosts and then murder someone, Porter in Act 2 Scene 3 and Lady Macbeth in Act 2, scene 2. These writing methods really pull the story together and give it a particular feel.

There is one more thing that really stood out to me and it was the witches say with words. They were very playful with their words and what they said was borad, yet specific. One of the instances that stand out to me is their clue at who would kill Macbeth. They said that Macbeth cannot be killed by someone born by a woman, which you would think is impossible at first, but it is very possible. C-sections now a days happen all the time, but in the past babies were also removed from their mothers. It really shows that you must pay attention, very close attention to the words in the play. I feel like I would get even more out of it if I were to read it a second time. I also saw a parallel between the way you interpret these witches and fae in popular books. They can never lie, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be tricky.


Next months pick is The Taming of the Shrew. I know absolutely nothing about this play so I am a tiny bit worried, but I have high hopes as well because of the success of Macbeth in my book. Thanks to those who voted in the twitter poll!


Have you ever read Macbeth? If so, did you enjoy it?

Which play do you think I should look into for June?

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Wrap Up

Middle Mark |April | #OWLsReathaon2020

Middle Mark

Hello and welcome to my Middle Mark post for the OWLs Reeadathon! First I am going to be doing what I normally do in these posts, I am going to share my mini reviews of each of the books I read. Following that I will go through the OWLs that I have made progress on. Then, I will share what books I am in the middle of as of writing this post. I hope you enjoy the mini reviews and looking at my OWLs Reathon progress. I am actually quite proud of my progress.


Read 2

Full ThrottleFull Throttle by Joe Hill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Joe Hill continues to impress me with his writing. But, like any story collection there were some I loved, some I liked, some that were okay and one I ended up skipping.

Overall, this was a really good collection of creepy and disturbing stories. If you enjoy his other works you should enjoy this as well.

View all my reviews


The Girls of GettysburgThe Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a really well created fictional novel that interwoven the tales of three different girls that all end up at Gettysburg. I really liked how the author told the experiences of many within these three characters. The writing was donee very well and it was an enjoyable read. I recommend to anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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They Will Drown in Their Mothers' TearsThey Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears by Johannes Anyuru

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not really sure how to rate or review this book. I feel like something might have gotten lost in translation. But, from what I did read it was very intense sense and the beginning. Plus, reading it was a bit disorienting, but I think that was the point.

Overall, I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t really enjoy reading it either.

View all my reviews


Macbeth Macbeth by William Shakespeare

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Review to come shortly! I am saving this review for when I do my Shakespeare challenge post later this month, keep an eye out!

View all my review


Norse MythologyNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great collection of Norse Myths. Neil Gaiman is a talented writer and his style and strong voice is present in this collection. It mainly focuses on Thor, Loki and Oden with other Gods thrown in. The selection that Gaiman choose were a good introduction to Norse Myths, but also a good recap as well. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys mythology.

View all my reviews


The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)The Magician King by Lev Grossman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series continues to be vey interesting and engaging. It truly is a great second book to a series. In my eyes a great book in a series continues to demonstrate which I enjoyed about the first one and doesn’t seem like just a filler to get from book one to book three. This book continued to grow the world(s) of this series and maintained its appeal. I don’t want to say much, because it is the second book in a series, but the story has become more complicated and intense.

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Heart-Shaped BoxHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have had this book sitting on my shelf for almost a year and I am mad that it took my this long to get to it. This is a true ghost story, but the worst kind of one. It is brutal, but is perfect for a horror read. It has a monster, gore, and an interesting plot that kept me reading.

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Magical Readathon Update

Seer Profession

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title

Astronomy – Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside

Divination – Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use random number generator

Animagus Training 

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside your favorite genre

Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

Transfigurations – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shape shifting

Magical Shop Management 

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside your favorite genre

Bonus OWLs

History of Magic – Book that features witches/wizards 

  • The Magicians King by Lev Grossman

Graphics created by @ladette_M on Twitter!

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Currently Reading 2

I am currerntly 74% through Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I am liking this book a lot more than I originally thought I would. I have not been into this type of book for some time and I really only picked it up because I am buddy reading it, but I am so glad that that pushed me into reading it. I only have about a forth of the book to go, so we shall see what my feelings are later on. I am hoping they are good.


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

How are your OWLs coming along? 

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TBR

To Be Read | March 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to another TBR post! This month I am keeping my TBR nice and small so I can have some random picks as the month goes on and also not put too much pressure on myself because as many of you know I am starting to study a new language. But, I still want to keep reading and I am really excited about the books on my list!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman, I am buddy reading this with reading this with Reg and Jenna this month. This has to be a series I have been interested in this series for what feels like years. I am expecting to love this book so much I actually bought the series bundle.

Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo, I have been reading this book on and off since January. The main reason I have been reading this book for so long is because I thought I lost this book, turns out it was in my trunk. When I was reading it, I was really enjoying it so I am happy to have found it.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare, this is my March Shakespeare of the month for my Shakespeare challenge, if you want to know more about this, check out my most recent installment, 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | February. I am a bit worried about this one, I feel like the tragedy were my most disliked. plays when I read them in high school, but this is one of the most popular one of them all. So, I am hoping that this one wont be as bad as I think it is, fingers crossed.



What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are starting the month with?

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Wrap Up

Weeks in Review | November 11th-November 17th

a week in review

Wow, another week has passed, I can hardly believe it. I feel like since November has started the year is going faster and faster. This week I was only able to finish one book, but I made good progress in my buddy read and I did end up DNFing another book. Not because it was a bad book, but because I didn’t really feel like reading it currently. So I don’t want to mention it because I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it. Without further wait, here are my stats and reading wrap up from the pervious week.

Pages Read: 426 pages

Time Read: 4 hours

Reading Speed: 93 pages and hour

DividerBooks I Finished

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

I absolutely loved this book! When I first started reading this book, I did find it enjoyable, but I did not expect it to be a 5 star read for me. While it was interesting the first few parts of the book were missing that spark that Practical Magic had. The by part 3 I was really dedicated to this book. I teared up, I felt for this family greatly. Then the ending came and I saw what Alice Hoffman did and I gasped “WHAT!?” when I realized who these characters were and answered so many questions that I had when I read Practical Magic is a wonderful show and not tell kind of manner. If you loved Practical Magic I highly recommend reading this, it does the story justice in my eyes. If you never read Practical Magic, you can start with this novel if you want a wonderful witch and magic filled read.

5stars

DividerI am Still Reading

A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay

A Noise Downstairs

I finally am caught up with this buddy read. So far I am on the fence as to what I think about it, but I am excited to see what happens next. The cliffhanger that I felt off on makes me want to read ahead, but I am going to control myself for the time being.

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Books Added

The Witch Elm by Tana French

The Witch Elm

I have been hearing an awful or about Tana French and more specifically about The Witch Elm. I don’t know if it was because of all the witch talk around Halloween or just that it is a great book, but either way it caught my interest. Funnily enough I went to a few bookstores to find this book, so I am far from the only one interested in it.

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.

A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are. “-goodreads.com 

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Posts from the Week

Let’s Talk | TBR Jar Experiment

TAG | The Literary Dinner Part

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What was the last book you read?

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TBR

#Blogoween | Try A Chapter October 2018

LetsTalk12:17

Hello everyone so once again I am ignoring a #blogoween prompt. I am sorry about this, but I thought it would be fun to do a Try a Chapter with books that would be perfect to read during this spooky time of the year. So I went through my TBR and picked up some books that I have had for some time that had to do with horror, witches, or ghosts in some way. I hope you enjoy this Halloween themed edition!

Previous Posts: Let’s Talk | Try a Chapter April 2018Try a Chapter | August 2017, and Try a Chapter | June 2017.

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The Books

Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

Lisey's Story

  • goodreads rating: 3.66
  • pages: 513
  • genre: Horror

Outcome: I read a total of 14 pages, which is actually kinda short for a Stephen King chapter. The first chapter is really setting up the story and introducing the main character and fills us in on her recent live events. Overall, I think it was a good start to the novel and I think I will really enjoy reading it. So, I am going to be keeping this book.

Revival by Stephen King

Revival

  • goodreads rating: 3.76
  • pages: 405
  • genre: Horror

Outcome: I read about 5 pages, and I was already wanting to skip around and see what would happen. For me this is a bad sign. While I do want to see what happens, I only cared about what the guy did, not the aftermath or repercussions, which is the whole point. So because I already wanted to skip around I am going to be unhauling this book.

Gerald’s Game by Stephen King

Gerald's Game

  • goodreads rating: 3.48
  • pages: 468
  • genre: Horror/Thriller

Outcome: So I read about 30 some odd pages of this book. I will say I didn’t ever read the description of this book. When I first discovered reading King I just kinda bought a ton of his books without really reading the descriptions. So if I had I would never have bought it. So I am unhauling this book. It is NOT for me in anyway. x

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle

The Dinner List

  • goodreads rating: 3.84
  • pages: 273
  • genre: Fiction/Magical Realism

Outcome: I read 14 pages of this book and I can see that I will pick up another book by this author from the library, but I don’t know if I would buy another book by this author. I thought her writing was beautiful, but the plot just isn’t exciting to me. I think if the desciprion sounds like something up your alley you will love this book, I am actually going to be sending it to my cousin as a present. So I am unhauling/gifting this book.

Insomnia by Stephen King

Insomnia

  • goodreads rating: 3.81
  • pages: 912
  • genre: Horror/Fiction

Outcome: I read about 15 or odd pages of this one and it was a very slow build that didn’t really pull me in a lot. So I don’t think I would really like reading anymore of this novel. So I am going to be unhauling it. I do think for those who enjoy a slow burn kinda book this would be great one for you.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep

  • goodreads rating: 3.85
  • pages: 308
  • genre: YA/Paranormal

Outcome: I read 13 pages of this book and I wanted to read more almost instantly. I love that there is a bit of folklore and “history” poured into the book so early on. I am also getting Sanderson sister vibes mainly because there are 3 witch sisters. I am going to be keeping this book and reading it hopefully this month since it is Halloween season, but I feel like it would be great to read in the next few months as well.

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What do you think about unhauling books? What is your TBR currently?

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Hauls

Book Haul: May 2017

Book Haul.jpg

Even though I had a book haul already this month, for my birthday, I wanted to share the books I picked up for myself for the fun of it. If you have read any of these let me know what you thought!


The Circle by Dave Eggers

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I mainly picked this book up because I have been hearing some great things and it has been made into a movie. Even though I know a lot of movie adaptations are not nearly as good I always enjoy seeing them. When you see a movie adaptation two things can happen. The first is that you get to see a book “come to life” before your eyes not just in your head. The second is you can see a different story that may be good on its own.


A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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This has been a book I have been intrigued by for a while, but for some reason I did not want to buy it myself. So when I won RAVEN AVERY milestone giveaway I finally picked it up and I am so happy I did. I am saving this for the summer when I have time to read a trilogy. P.S. thank you again Raven!


The Last Days of Magic: A Novel by Mark Tompkins 

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I love reading books about magic, so when I saw the title and read the description I had to have this book. It has a wonderful mixture of myths, magic, and mysticism. All things I  cannot ignore. So in my basket to checkout it went.

“What became of magic in the world? Who needed to do away with it, and for what reasons? Drawing on myth, legend, fairy tales, and Biblical mysteries, The Last Days of Magic brilliantly imagines answers to these questions, sweeping us back to a world where humans and magical beings co-exist as they had for centuries.”

– via goodreads.


Not Quite the Classics by Colin Mochrie 

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I picked this book up because I have been on a Whose Line is it Anyway? kick. If you are unsure of what I am referring to it is an improve comedy show that has been around since the 1990s. I grew up watching it and I have been watching a lot of the old episodes lately. So of course I wanted to read a book by one of these guys. I already read this book and write up a little review you can find here: Not Quite The Classics by Colin Mochrie. Over all I enjoyed it, I had a few good laughs and read it pretty quickly.


Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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I picked this book up for a few reasons. The first being it had to do with law, the second it talks about a strong woman, and lastly the name caught my attention then the description sealed the deal. I have read this already and enjoyed it. It had some cool graphics and images from all periods of her life. It told an amazing story of a strong woman breaking barriers and giving the future woman of the U.S. an opportunity to do great things.


One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays by Scaachi Koul

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This book I did not really know that much about when I picked it from my BOTM (Book of the Month) dashboard. From what I have read on the little blurb it seems like it is going to be an interesting read and I am looking forward to reading it in the future.


Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files by Sylvain Neuvel 

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I read the first book in this series last year, I think I also got it from BOTM. I loved the series and when I knew this was coming out I went to the bookstore on release day to get my hands on. Since this is the second book in a series I don’t really want to say much more.


What books have you picked up this past month?

Have you read any of these?

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TBR

August 2016 | TBR

1

Where did the Summer go? I can’t believe that it is already August and I am building my TBR. This month my goal is to get through some monsters I have on my shelf before work gets overwhelming for me and only short and sweet novels  keep me sane. I plan on reading 5 books in total. Who knows if I will stick to this, but right now it is my plan.

  1. The Shining by Stephen King
  2. Sleep Doctor by Stephen King
  3. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  4. The Silver Witch by Paula Brockton
  5. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I am going on a bit of a vacation so I am packing at least two of these bad boys into my bag. What are you reading this month?