Wrap Up

Wrap Up | July 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my monthly wrap up! I missed out on my middle mark post for the month so be prepared for quite a few mini reviews and well as my monthly stats overall. I think I did good overall this month, I even found a few books I love. The main driving force in my reading amount was The Reading Rush that book place between July 20th-26th. In that readathon alone I ended up reading ___ books that week alone. Anyway, on to the books, the reason you clicked onto this post.


Read 2

LGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People by the NumbersLGBTQ Stats: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer People by the Numbers by Bennett Singer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Very interesting, the name is very accurate, this book is a lot of questions being answers via data collected via census and polls. It is best read in chunks a little at a time because it reads like a textbook.

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The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the RipperThe Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed learning more about these women instead of just hearing about how they died. It was a very interesting read that I just flew through. I feel like you should give this a try if non-fiction is not really your thing because it does not read like a textbook, which in my eyes is a huge compliment to the author when it comes to non-fiction.

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Civil War Wives: The Lives & Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis & Julia Dent GrantCivil War Wives: The Lives & Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis & Julia Dent Grant by Carol Berkin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very interesting and good look into the wives of a couple of the most known individuals during the civil war. It was interesting to have a peak into their lives before, during, and after the war and see if and how they supported their partners, but also if they felt the same as their husbands. In addition, you can learn about the efforts made by some of these women on their own. The writing itself is done very well and the extent of sources is encouraging.

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The TempestThe Tempest by William Shakespeare

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are a few things I really liked about this play in particular the first being a ship wreck that reminded me of Odyssey in a way. I am not sure if this was the purpose, but I enjoyed the connection I made. I also liked that in this play there was also magic and magical creatures. As I said about Twelfth Night, I am always a sucker for it. I ended up giving this play 4 stars because I was a bit more into actually reading this and it kept my attention for than Twelfth Night did. It is one of the Shakespeare plays that I actually would not mind reading for a second time, I think Macbeth is the only other one on that list.

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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to start off by saying that this is one of the most inventive and unique books I have read based upon the idea alone. But, this book is penned by a very talented writing and it just makes the book that much better. The first part of this book follows the 10 min. after death of a woman named Leila, who lived a very interesting life. You learn about her life through various memories that come to her in her last moments of life. It really hits home the “life flashes before your eyes” idea.

The second part discusses humility, society, and just being a decent human and how a system takes that away. How some individuals in life and in death can be discriminated against. It was a very interesting book that not only showed you the life of the characters, but also talked about society and highlighted how friendship can be such a powerful thing. I feel like this is a book I will be rereading because I feel like I can get even more out of it.

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Mexican GothicMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is just amazing and I really think it is going to be one of my favorites for this year. It was a wonderfully written horror that had me flipping pages faster than I have in a bit. It reminded me of a few movies and novels, but even with that it was unique and all its own. If you enjoy horror I really think that this is something you might enjoy.

The writing was amazing, the main character was wonderfully written as well as the side characters. Usually side characters are just there, but Moreno-Garcia establishes them so well and they truly are part of the story. On top of the characters the atmosphere was spot on. It reminded me of crimson peak, haunting of hill house, and others. But, like I said, this is truly unique to is all the authors own.

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House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am going to be honest, I really went into this book thinking I was going to enjoy it quite a bit. The idea sounded interesting and the world created sounded very interesting, but I was kind of bored reading this… okay very bored. The weird thing is, things were happening, some pretty intense stuff. So, I am not sure how or why I was bored, but I was. I might go back in the future and give this book another go, I might not have been in the right mood for it.

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The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3)The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful ending to the series, did not disappoint! Holly Black as always does a great job of writing about fae and does wondering with writing in riddles and such. I give her a lot of credit in doing this because sometimes I can’t figure out the loopholes myself. In other books where there are fae characters I usually can figure it out easily.

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Celtic Mythology: Tales of Gods, Goddesses, and HeroesCeltic Mythology: Tales of Gods, Goddesses, and Heroes by Philip Freeman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I never thought that some Celtic Myths would make Greek Mythology seem boring. This was a really well done collection of myths that cover a good deal of time and area. I felt that the author framed them very well with giving some historical context as well as organized them well. I enjoyed reading these tails and chances are I will read them again in the future.

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The Night Country (The Hazel Wood, #2)The Night Country by Melissa Albert

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great story by Melissa Albert. This was a really enjoyable continuation in this series. A lot was going on and it still held the same magic for me as the first one did. The only downside was there were a few pacing issues for me personally. I am excited to see what happens in the next book!

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Don't Touch My HairDon’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri, it is a nonfiction that discusses racism and prejudice against blanks historically. The main vein that this particular book follows is based upon hair. I found it to be really interesting and it was a general history of racism touching on three different continents (North America, Europe, and Africa), but it was also a memoir of the author as well. I really annotated this book, I wrote on nearly every page.

The blurb said it best, ” intellectual investigation into black women and the very serious business of our hair, as it pertains to race, gender, social codes, tradition, culture, cosmology, maths, politics, philosophy and history”

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Teen Titans: RavenTeen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a really great graphic novel, I really enjoyed seeing this side of Raven. The plot was great, the art work and color scheme was wonderful. I am really glad that the author is adding to this series in September with Beast Boy!

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FirestarterFirestarter by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first I was not into this story in the slightest, but I decided to try for a little bit longer. I am glad I stayed with it because I ended up enjoying this quite a bit. It is almost like a different version of The Institute or a precursor to it. It is very different, but has a similar vibe to it if that makes sense. Charlie was a great character and her dad is amazing.

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Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a very interesting thriller and ghost story. There was a real eerie feeling to this novel, which a horror lover like myself really enjoyed. On top of that the writing was great, you can tell the author really planned this novel out. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future

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The Girl from Widow HillsThe Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is such an amazing thriller, I could not put it down once I picked it up. The writing is top notch, they methods used to tell the story and build the world were wonderful. I recommend anyone who enjoys thrillers.

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The Tale of Mrs WestawayThe Tale of Mrs Westaway by Ruth Ware

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a wild ride of a short story, it was really interesting to learn more about Mrs. Westaway.

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Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 2


Reading Stats


What was your favorite book this month?

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up | The Reading Rush 2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my wrap up post for The Reading Rush! I am still floored at how productive I was during this readathon, I have not done this well in a while. I also had a ton of fun with the instagram challenges on top of the live shows, twitter sprints, and of course the reading itself! Here is how I did.


Pages Read

Above you will see a daily pages read graph; Monday-272, Tuesday-331, Wednesday-240, Thursday-182, Friday-192, Saturday-766, Sunday-366. I read a total of 2,349 pages!


Books Read

  • Celtic Mythology by Philip Freeman
  • The Night Country by Melissa Albert
  • Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri (not pictured)
  • Teen Titians Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo
  • Firestarter by Stephen King
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda
  • The Tale of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (not pictured)

Badges Earned

Made an Instagram, Participated in a read in live show, Participated in Twitter Sprint, Read a Book Completely Outside of Your House, Read a Book in a Genre You Always Wanted to Read More Of, Read a Book That Inspired a Movie You’ve Already Seen, Read a Book That Starts with the Word “The”, Read a Book That Takes Place on a Different Continent Than Where You Live, Read a Book with a Cover the Same Color as Your Birth Stone, Read a Five Star Book, Read Over 1000 Pages, Read the First Book You Touch, Overall 2020 Reading Rush Badge, Make a Booktube Video ( I made an bookstagram video, I don’t need more social media), and lastly Completed 2020 Challenges Badge.


I had such a blast reading all of these books this past week, I read so much more than I thought I would, I was only planning on four and here I ended up reading eight.

How did the Read Rush go for you? What have you read this past week?

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To Be Read

TBR | The Reading Rush July 20th – July 26th

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to my TBR post for The Reading Rush. This readathon has been one I have taken part in for the past few years and I am excited to do it again. This round is running from July 20th-July 26th. If you want more information you can visit their website here: https://thereadingrush.com/. In this post I am going to go over the challenges and the books I plan on reading to meet them. Now on to the books!


The Challenges

1 – Read a book with a cover that matches the color of your birth stone.

2 – Read a book that starts with the word “The”.

3 – Read a book that inspired by a movie you’ve already seen.

4 – Read the first book you touch.

5 – Read a book completely outside of your house. Challenge Update Post for Safety

6 – Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of.

7 – Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live.


My TBR

Books as follows; Firestarter Stephen King, Don’t Touch my Hair by Emma Dabiri, The Night Country by Melissa Albert and Celtic Mythology byPhilip Freeman.

1, 5, 7 – Celtic Mythology by Philip Freeman

2 & 4 – The Night Country by Melissa Albert

3 – Fire Starter by Stephen King

6 – Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri


As you can see I am not going for 7 books in 7 days. I am doubling up and tripling up on some of these challenges so I can be strategic. I will however try to read these four books and then if I still have time somehow I plan on reading other books that will also meet the challenges I grouped together. I am really excited to read these books and to have two non-fiction reads for a readathon. I have very much been enjoying non-fiction lately, I even started off July by reading two non-fictions back to back. Anyway, here is my TBR!


Are you participating in the reading rush this year?

What book are you most excited to read?

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Lets Talk

Lets Talk | Preordering Books

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Hello and welcome to the March discussion post. I have been loving these the past few months. Being able to hear your options and talk about books just makes me want to blog more. I started bookishluna because I wanted to talk books and to see all the support through comments and taking part in my polls has been great. Thank-you for talking books with me. If you want to read my previous discussion post you can find them here; Lets Talk | Reading Formats Lets Talk | Big Books.

Last month we talked about big books, this month lets talk about preordering books. But, before we move on to this months discussion topic I want to go over the poll results.

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The Results


The poll this month shows that most people like big books. I will admit I was thinking that more people would say no because they can be intimidating. Either way, if you like big books or not, we can all agree that books are amazing.

What do you think about the poll results?

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When you preorder a book, you are taking a chance, it could work out in your favor or not. A big fear of mine is preordering a book and absolutely hating it. We have all been there, we read a book description or review on a fell bloggers page and thought, “This book is for me”.  We preorder it and wait. When it finally arrived we happily open it and maybe share our bookmail on our social media accounts. Then when we go to read the book it falls flat for one reason or another. This is large con when it comes to preordering books. There is no guarantee we are going to like the book.

The pros to preordering are numerous. Sometimes there are preorder goodies, I know when I preordered The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon I was sent a beautiful full colored map of the world. I still have it displayed. Other times there may be exclusive covers, extra art, stickers, and other bookish goodies. Another bonus of preordering books is they are sometimes cheaper. This is not guaranteed, but in some cases if you preorder in advance online they prices may be cheaper. But, I will admit I am an advocate of preordering at a physical books store, chain or independent if you have access to that. When you do this, chances are you will not get a discount.

Another pro, which I find the most powerful is that it supports the author. It helps them get better release day/week numbers which helps them gain support for publishing another book. Now obviously, you can do this by going to the store on opening day, but I am horrible about remember release days. This way you don’t need to remember, it either shows up at your door or you get a phone call saying you can pick up your book.

If you want to hear it from an author you can see that Melissa Albert herself says the best says to support an author when you preorder or buy it in store on the appropriate date. Buying them before release date  does not support authors. So if you see a book out before their release date, it does not help their numbers. If you want to ensure you get a copy asap preorder it online or at a bookshop. I myself have seen them out before their date and have gotten super excited because I feel like I have found buried treasure. After realizing it does not help authors I will no longer buy books early.

Thanks again for letting me use your tweet! 

Now I want to take a moment to say that you can support authors by requesting their books at the library, I don’t always have money for book and I know a lot of people are also in the same boat. Now, I did a bit of reading and the amount of financial support authors get from library sales differ from author to author. I recently read a great post on the topic, How do authors make money from library books? I was curious because I wanted to know that these authors still get the support they deserve when I put a book on hold. It seems that they do, but in different ways. Divider

For me preordering books is something I do when it meets my criteria. For me to preorder a book it has to hit at least 2 of the following; I have read 1 or more of the authors works already and enjoyed them, the description of the books pulls me in, and/or I read a review by someones I trust or know I have similar tastes too. Having this criteria has helped me greatly. I am very rarely disappointed by books I preorder anymore.

Of course there is an exception, if I have read the book as an ARC and I loved it, I am going to preorder it as well. While I do want to support authors, I want to be as sure as I can be before spending money on a book. They can be expensive and sometimes my disposable income in limited.

(Some) Books I have Pre-Ordered and the Criteria They Met

  • Illustrated editions of Harry Potter: I read them all in original format
  • The Hazel Wood By Melissa Albert: Received as an ARC and reviewed
  • Review | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I read 2 books by her and the description sounded amazing.
  • The Dire King: A Jackaby Novel by William Ritter: I read the other books in the series and loved it, plus the description sounded like it was going to continue being amazing. (P.S this series is one where I loved every book) 
  •  I currently have Stephen Kings newest book The Outsider that comes out May 22nd, 2018 preordered. I have read at least 8 of his books and really enjoyed them. On top of that the description gave me the creeps, which is the point of a Stephen King book.

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What do you think about preordering books?

Do you preorder books? Let me know in the poll below.

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Lists & Recommendations

January 2018 | Books I Am Excited About

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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

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Release Date: January 16th, 2018

In the industrial 1860s at the dawn of the Carnegie empire, Irish immigrant Clara Kelly finds herself in desperate circumstances. Looking for a way out, she seeks employment as a lady’s maid in the home of the prominent businessman Andrew Carnegie. Soon, the bond between Clara and her employer deepens into love. But when Clara goes missing, Carnegie’s search for her unearths secrets and revelations that lay the foundation for his lasting legacy. With captivating insight and stunning heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one lost woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist.

The Outcasts of Time by Ian Mortimer

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

December 1348. What if you had just six days to save your soul?

With the country in the grip of the Black Death, brothers John and William fear that they will shortly die and suffer in the afterlife. But as the end draws near, they are given an unexpected choice: either to go home and spend their last six days in their familiar world, or to search for salvation across the forthcoming centuries – living each one of their remaining days ninety-nine years after the last.

John and William choose the future and find themselves in 1447, ignorant of almost everything going on around them. The year 1546 brings no more comfort, and 1645 challenges them in further unexpected ways. It is not just that technology is changing: things they have taken for granted all their lives prove to be short-lived.

As they find themselves in stranger and stranger times, the reader travels with them, seeing the world through their eyes as it shifts through disease, progress, enlightenment, and war. But their time is running out—can they do something to redeem themselves before the six days are up?

Jefferson’s Daughters: Three Sisters, White and Black by Catherine Kerrison

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Release Date: January 2nd, 2018

My Review: REVIEW | Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison

Thomas Jefferson fathered three girls: two white and free, one black and a slave. This book about Martha, Maria, and Harriet tells the fascinating story of their very different lives at Monticello and beyond, as daughters of one of our most brilliant and complicated Founding Fathers.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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Release Date: January 30th, 2018

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.


What books are you looking forward to?

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Reviews

Review | The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Book Review

18302455*I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Description

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

What I Liked

First off I will say that The Hazel Wood is nothing like I have read previously. I was expecting a generic fairytale laced story turned evil, but I got something different…better. I will add that the fairy tale aspect does not overly come out to play right away. I know for some people who have read the description are under the impression this will happen, but I enjoyed the slow build. For me this made the story better. The way the story was structure I was waiting for it, waiting for those who live at The Hazel Wood to strike. The suspense I felt throughout this book was immense.

Another thing I enjoyed were the characters and their relationships. I felt like the characters stayed true to themselves even when the plot took twists and turn down the rabbit hole. When I was surprised by their actions or their reactions, it still felt like something the character would do. I also enjoyed the relationships and dynamics between Alice, her mother, Finch, and many more characters  I don’t want to spoil. The relationships felt real because they showed their faults and everything wasn’t perfect. I find that sometimes relationships are not realistic in books because they are just so perfect. But this book showed dynamic relationships, both over all positive ones and negative ones. I will admit I found myself hating a particular character and I was not expecting myself to feel that strongly.

Lastly, Writing was beautiful – I could picture everything. I could picture Alice riding in cars, sleeping in motels and bedroom. I could see The Hazel Wood and all the normal and magical twisted places she visits. Her writing was laced with imagery and it worked very well. A nice little bonus is that Melissa Albert makes references to many literary works, both modern and classic works. I appreciated each ones of these from Harry Potter to Wilkie Collins.

What I Didn’t Like

One of the negatives of this book was there were a few times I felt that things were a little to easy, but I felt it did not take away from the story in any way. This was the only fault I found and as you can see, it is a pretty minor one.

Overall Thoughts

This was one of my favorite fairytale inspired stories. I ended up staying up past midnight to finish it and I have not done that in a long time. The writing was beautiful, the build up was perfect, and the characters and dynamics were done very well. If you are even slightly interested in this book I suggest you pick it up either from the store or your local library once it comes out. I would be surprised if you ended up disappointed.


I loved this book so much I actually made my first aesthetic for a book.


Book Information

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Publication Date: January 30th 2018

List Price: $16.99

ISBN: 9781250147905

Pages: 368


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

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