Lets Talk · Lists & Recommendations

Let’s Talk | Series I Read or Started in 2020

Hello and welcome to a post where I share a few of the book series I finished or started in 2020. Now, to be honest I don’t read too many series so the ones I start I really have to be interested in. I have realized that series reading is not something to take lightly because of the commitment. I have realized that type of reading is generally not for me as the years have passed, but there are a few exceptions and here they are!


Series I Started

Assassination Classroom by Yūsei Matsui

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 01

Now, I will be honest here. I have watched the entirety of the anime and loved it. The next logical step for this reader was to read the manga. So, I finally decided to start reading them this year and at this point in time I have read the first two volumes and I have a few waiting for me on my shelf. This series takes place in a school where the students are tasked by the government to assassinate their teacher who seems to be a monster or alien that blew up the moon and promises to do the same to Earth. The funny thing is, this teacher is probably the best teacher ever and really cares about the kids and helps train them to try and get him. It really is hard to explain but I cried a few times and it takes a lot for me to cry.

Frankenstein by Dean Koontz

Prodigal Son (Dean Koontz's Frankenstein #1)

This series I started as a buddy read with Jenna and Reg. We all read the first book, Prodigal Son, in the series together but we have all stalled funny enough. It was a good start for sure, but just something I am in the mood for currently. It has a mixture of horror with an immortal and also has aspects of a thriller with a serial killer on the loose. It really left off on a great point in the plot so I really do want to continue one day.

Series I Continued

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)

I have been reading this series over the last few years and I have been enjoying it, but I have been reading about two a year. At this point in time I am up to An Echo in the Bone, which his book 7. I am hoping to read it the last week of December or early January. I tend to read one in the Winter and one in the Summer. Since I am so far in the series I don’t want to say too much at this point.

Series I Finished

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café

I read the first two books in this series, that is all that is available in English at this time so I am going to count this as completed. I do hope the third installment of this whimsical, emotional, and magical collection of short tales. I don’t want to say too much about these because I feel like the less you know the better, but do know that these are amazing!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians Trilogy Boxed Set

This year I started and finished Th Magicians Series. I have to say I really loved this series throughout. If fact it got better as it went on. I really loved that the characters started learning magic in college and that it took place in a world hidden within our own. I also loved the fact that his fantasy novel is new adult as well. I also liked that the main character isn’t perfect, it really makes all of the characters feel like actual humans with flaws and all. I really feel like I might reread this series in the future as well. I also read these with Jenna and Reg!

Margaret Harkness and Arthur Conan Doyle Series by Bradley Harper

Queen's Gambit

This last series I read this year because I was part of a blog tour of the first book, A Knife in the Fog. I then decided to continue the series because I enjoyed the first one. This fast paced historical mystery was a ton of fun and gave off a ton of Sherlock Holmes vibes.


What series have you read this year?

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Reading Challenges · Reviews

Reading Challenge | MyTBR.co Issue 1

Hello and welcome to a new quarterly series on my blog where I get reccomedations from mytbr.co and read and review them to see how well they can guess my reading tastes from me filling out a huge form non their website. I will not hesitate to say I got this idea from watching Books and Lala over on youtube and seeing her trying the same book service and I wanted to try it for myself.


This is to go over the first recommendation letter I received them from. In this letter I was recommended The Hunger by Alma Katsu, The Incarnations of Susan Barker, and The Changeling by Victor Lavalle. I will say that my first reaction to this recommendations were, “Wow, these sound amazing”. So far, this service is off to a really good start.

The Reviews

The ChangelingThe Changeling by Victor LaValle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book ended up being so much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be. It was beautifully written and surprising. I expected the story to be one thing, but it transformed into something magically different in the best way possible. I really enjoyed the rollercoaster of emotions this book put my through as a reader as well as a family legend that ties into myths.

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The HungerThe Hunger by Alma Katsu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very intriguing, imaginative and haunting horror. Not only was this horror atmospheric, but it mixed “real world” horror and monster based horror. This mixed with history only made it just seem even more real. The writing was well done, the pacing, characters, and relationships were all done so well. I will be trying more books from this author in the future.

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The IncarnationsThe Incarnations by Susan Barker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel was just something outside of the genre it was labeled as. It is a thriller, fantasy, and historical fiction all mixed into one. This book follows a cab driver in Beijing and the story goes through time as you learn about his past lives as he does. Each life had its own chapter where you explored the lives of these two souls, the lives they lived varied quite a lot and they endured a ton as well (violence, sexual violence, and suicide to name a few). The writing itself was beautiful, and the way the author organized the book was perfect. At no point did I think the pacing was off or was bored. I was glued to this book when I was able to find time to pick it up. Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the author intertwined these stories with Chinese folklore, classic, and history.

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Overall, I would say that this service did a really wonderful job in picking books for me for this round. I ended up giving every book a 4 or 5 rating and when I did get to pick up these books I tended to read them for long periods of time. I very much look forward to my next recommendations.


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Lets Talk · Lists & Recommendations

Let’s Talk | Wintery Books

Hello and welcome to a post where I talk about a few of my wintery themed books. I am not usually a seasonal reader, but I feel like there is nothing better than snuggling up next to a fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa with a winter read. It is just so relaxing during the long nights. Anyway, here are the books I think wold be great to read in the winter.


NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

While this is a horror novel, it has a large wintery and Christmas theme throughout. I mean it has a place called Christmasland in it, it doesn’t get more christmas-y in a horror novel than that. On top of this it really is a really enjoyable horror novel on its own that I recommend to quite a few to my friends to read this time of the year. I feel like the mixture of horror and the holiday season really is a great tie in between Halloween and Christmas.

One by One by Ruth Ware

If you are in the mood for a thriller and a wintry backdrop, this is a wonderful option. This thriller/mystery takes place at a ski retreat where the characters are trapped and cut off the from the rest of the world at the top of a mountain in the middle of a snow storm. This is a great option to read as soon as the temperature starts to drop.

The Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

Now, this one is a really atmospheric read. It is a really great thriller with a very big dark feeling to it that is hard to explain. It is not dark in a way that is evil, but the novel just reads like it takes place in the time of year where the nights are long. On top of that it takes place in a really small lovely town where everyone is really close, but also it a historical fiction. It has a lot going for it.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Does it get more wintry than a classic Russian novel? This novel is a classic for a reason, this book covers themes and such that are still relevant in todays world. While there is a lot of drama in this book, a lot of the issues the characters face are still feelings that a lot of us still feel during 2020. When I first read this novel I gave it 3 stars, but as time past I realized that I liked it more and more.

Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

I just finished this very cute romance last night, I have not stayed up this late to finish a book in a while, but this book had me needing to know what happened next between the two main characters. The main character, Vivian, travels with her daughter, Maddie, across the ocean to spend Christmas with her while working for the royal family, then the story builds from there. It is an adorable setting, the characters were wonderful, and takes place the week surrounding Christmas.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold and Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

These two collections of short stories that are about 200 pages are so wonderful and heart wrenching focus on making connections with those in our lives and celebrating and making the most of the time we have together. With all of the holidays where family is the main focus I feel like this really is a wonderful time to read both of these. Plus, a cafe where you can travel in time, I mean, this is just a great addition!


I hope you found a book that you might enjoy reading over the long nights this winter or holiday season!

Are there any wintery themed books you are enjoying currently?

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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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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

Middle Mark | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my mid month check in for October! So far I am overjoyed with the books I have read. I cannot believe that we are already halfway through the month, but I am still really happy with the four books I have managed to read. One was a tome too and another was nonfiction!


Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead BodiesWill My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?: And Other Questions About Dead Bodies by Caitlin Doughty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again, Caitlin Doughty has written a very interesting and morbid book. This is much different than her previous two that I have read. It is set up as someone asks a question about death or death adjacent and she answers the question. Throughout the book she uses science, personal experience, and history to answer the questions which I enjoyed. Her voice is very similar to how she presents herself in her videos, which is great that her personality carries over so well.

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Strange Weather in TokyoStrange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was not expecting to be so pulled into their companionship, but the writing and structure of their story was beautifully done. I really enjoyed seeing them find each other over and over again.

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A Breath of Snow and Ashes (Outlander, #6)A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great installment of this historical fiction series. I don’t want to stay too much since this is book 6 in a series, but this one did not disappoint and it holds its own within this saga.

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If It BleedsIf It Bleeds by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another good collection of short stories by King. It was really nice to see Holly again from the Mr. Mercedes series. I think she is now no of my favorite King characters or at least in the top 3 easily. This collection has 4 stories, three I really liked, the second one I didn’t like too much.

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I am currently reading two books at this point in time. I am reading Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, I am really loving this book so much and I am so glad I am able to read it. At this time I am only 12% into it and I can tell it will be a contender for a top book of 2020. The second book I am reading is Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I am about 8% into this and I am enjoying finally reading this classic horror.


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

How are your reading month coming along? 

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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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