Wrap Up

Middle Mark | December 2020

Hello and welcome to my mid-month reading check in! While this post it a tad bit earlier than normal. I wanted to post it now so I can really focus on books I am writing full reviews on in the second half of the year. So far this month I have already read some pretty awesome books and I really can’t wait to pick up a few more before the end of 2020. Anyway, here are my mini reviews for the books I have read so far this month.


The Wedding from Hell (The Wedding From Hell, #1-3; Firefighters, #0.5-0.7)The Wedding from Hell by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As always, J.R. Ward is a great romance writer.

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The Blade BetweenThe Blade Between by Sam J. Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

*Book given via netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Overall, I think the author created a really rich history for this town that really lent itself to the plot and structure of the story. I think the author is a talented writer and I plan on giving his other works a try as well. I really enjoyed the use of the paranormal and really elevated this story into an engaging and unique horror. I feel like if this book sounds interesting to you, you should give it a go.

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You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to ExplainYou Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain by Phoebe Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Phoebe talked about many large topics such as feminism and race. This book is filled with wit, truth, and personal stories. The author is truly talented when it comes to talking about deep and complex topics, but balancing it with her sense of humor. Both I really appreciated. I need to find her stuff on a streaming service and also pick up her other book ASAP.

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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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As of right now I am in the middle of two books. The first is A Promised Land by Barack Obama and the second is Royal Holiday by Jasmine Gullory. I am 5% into A Promised Land and I am enjoying it, I am reading while listening along with the audiobook that is read by Obama, so it has a lot of his personality in it. Royal Holiday is also really good, I am about 10% into that story and I am really loving the set up for this holiday romantic story.

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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

Wrap Up | November 2020

Hello and welcome to my monthly wrap up, can you believe that the 11th month of the year is already behind us? I sure can’t I feel like November went very quickly this time around and we are already getting reading for the last month of 2020. This past month I didn’t do as well reading wise as previous months, but still feel like I read some great books and found a few new favorites.


Decisions and Dissents of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A SelectionDecisions and Dissents of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Selection by Ruth Bader Ginsburg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A wonderful collection of RBG’s ideas and thoughts on major topics such as equal rights and womens rights.

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Venus in the Blind SpotVenus in the Blind Spot by Junji Ito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again Junji Ito has made a wonderful collection of short manga horror tales. As always the art is great, the tales eerie and horrific and I read them quickly. I will continue to pick up more from him.

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Cemetery BoysCemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was just a wonderful read. I laughed, I cried, and a bunch of emotions in-between. I really loved Yadriel, Maritza and Julian as individual characters, but also how they interacted with one another. It really focused on acceptance, love, and family, blood or otherwise. It really was such an emotional read in the perfect way.

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The Nickel BoysThe Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Colson Whitehead has done it again, he has written another amazing book. He is certainly turning into one of my auto buy authors. This story was dark, raw, and emotional, but it was also beautifully told. Sadly, this story is based off of real events and many have had these experiences. I certainly is thought provoking and will be a book I think about in the future.

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What was your favorite or least favorite read of October?

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Lets Talk · Tags

Let’s Talk | Baby It’s Cold Outside Book Tag

Hello and welcome to a tag post, I was lucky enough to be tagged by Erin over at Reading on a Star, who also created it! As you can see they are creative and have a ton of fun stuff over on their blog and I really think you should check it out! I am very excited to share my answers and please feel free to complete his tag even if you are not tagged because it was certainly fun to answer.


Rules

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post.
  • Display the banner(copy and paste).
  • Link to the original creator: erin @ Reading On A Star !
  • Answer the questions!
  • Tag however many people as you want!

Snow Day – What’s your “comfort” book? 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, this books I read and adored with my mom as a child. To this day it is a book I go back to time and time again. It has such great memories tied to it, but also I love the story and the relationship between the family members so much.

Snow Angels – What’s a book that you love so much you would want to be buried with it(a little morid, but…)? 

Well, I don’t think I can pick the same book again so, I will go with Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I once again enjoy the relationships within the story, but I also like the discussion of no one being truly good or truly bad and you are not always what you are defined to be. I also think it would be interesting being buried with a book that has to do with angels and demons. If ever found it might makes things a bit interesting.

Warm Socks – What’s a book that makes you feel warm inside?(The fluffiest, cutest romance you’ve ever read?) 

I think I will go with Beach Read by Emily Henry. I read though it so quickly, I adored the characters and I will always love reading books about authors.

Hot Cocoa – What winter-themed novels have you previously read? 

The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon is a great horror read set in the winter. It has disappearance, legends, family secrets, and a bit of historical fiction thrown in. It is a wild ride and I was a book I was pulled into right from the beginning. Th best part is that it is just over 300 pages and is not too long, but has a lot going on.

Sledding – What’s a book with the best plot twists? Who’s an author that always keeps you on your toes? 

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, this book seriously kept me on my toes from start to finish. I don’t want to say too much, but this author is so talented and became an auto buy author because of it.

Ugly Sweaters – What’s a book with the ugliest cover?

The first book that pops up in my mind is the green edition of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I enjoyed the book and the movie for that matter, but I always disliked the lime green edition of this book.

Movie Marathon – What’s the last book you binge read?

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, I sat down last weekend thinking I would read a few chapters. Well, I ended up reading the entire book in a single day and I was honestly tempted to reread it almost right away. I honestly loved the characters and the dynamics of their relationships. I also adored the touch of magic the author added, it was perfect!

I also want to mention The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, a very similar thing happened when I went to read this book. I sat down to read a chapter or two and ended up reading the entire thing. While this is a beautiful story of a family truly learning who their child is, but it is so heart breaking and emotional. I don’t want to give too much information because I don’t want to spoil anything but I HIGHLY suggest you check this one out. It is one of the few books that made me cry.

Letter to Santa – What’s a book that’s on your wishlist this year? 

As of right now I have a whole list you can see here, but the one book I want the most would be Dark Archives by Megan Rosenbloom, a librarian. It is a nonfiction book that discusses a ]very morbid, but interesting topic of books bound in human skin. The author explores the science as well as the historical significance that led to these books being created. I am curious to see how the author will discuss such a dark topic and if she will be telling the story of those who became victims.


I Tag

Misty @ Misty’s Book Space

Jenna @ JK I’m Exploring

Jenna @ Westveil Publishing

Noly @ The Artsy Reader

Tarra @TLC Book Nook

Aoife @ Pretty Purple Polkadots

Rebbie @ Rebbie Reviews

Sarah @ VoyageThroughWor(l)ds


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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | November 2020 | Celebrating 0 Books on TBR

Hello and welcome to a book haul post! This book haul has been a long time coming because I have not done a book haul for months. The reason I am finally doing one now is because my owned TBR finally hit 0 books and I could not have been more excited. I never thought that it would happen, but it did! But, of course as a book lover I had to celebrate by buying some books. I do plan on keeping my TBR on the lower side, never going above 10 books, but I would like it to sit more around 5. Anyway, here are the books I decided to buy to celebrate.



Books stacked on a green chair.

The Books

First I want to start off the the JRR Tolkein boxset of the hobbit and Lord of the Rings. This is not actually adding to my TBR, but I have always wanted these small leather (faux I am pretty sure) editions. I figured since this was a celebration and I had a coupon I would treat myself to them as well as a reread soon!

Now, these are the books that are now my owned TBR. Some of these were actually gifts, but I figured I would just add all of the books all together. I will follow the image above from top to bottom.

The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I decided to pick up this book mainly because I just recently read Between the World and Me and I really liked it. I didn’t know this author had another book, but it was on display in my local bookstore and I picked it up without a second thought. His other work that I have read mentioned and hinted at the content in this book, but I very much looking forward to exploring it even more.

Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker, I happened to come across with in a recommendation list on the side of goodreads. It talks about objects around the world that are thought to be cursed. It would have been a perfect Halloween read, but I never was one to stick to seasonal reading. Anyway, this shares the story of these objects and the myths that surround them.

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas, I have heard a ton about this book and I am curious to see if I enjoy this one. So, when Jenna from JK I’m Exploring asked me if I wanted it , I jumped at the chance. I don’t know too much about the plot, but I feel like that might be the best way to read this book.

The Law of Color by Richard Rothstein. I saw this book on a lot of anti-racist reading lists this year so I really wanted to get my hands on it. I was going to get it from the library, but I am happy to say that the waiting list for this book is still really long. So, I decided I would get it for myself. This book takes a close look at how our country and government have segregated the US. I think it mainly discuses housing policy, but other subjects are also brought up from my current understanding.

Tomie by Junji Ito, I have read about 4 or 5 of his horror mangas and I have to say I have never been disappointed so I picked up another one of his works. His stuff is thought provoking, disturbing, and beautifully illustrated.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, I have been hearing amazing this about this book left and right. But, the thing that made me really want to read this is the fact that the dynamic of the two main characters was compared to the dynamic between Aziraphale and Crowley from Good Omens and for me that is an auto buy dynamic.

An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon, I cannot believe I am finally this far into this series, but I am really happy with how it is going. I wanted to just pick up the next book so I could continue. I need to know what happens to Clare and Jamie!

The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton, I read and loved this author s previous work and when I saw that this book was available I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I really enjoyed his writing style and the twists of his previous work, so I have high hopes.

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson, This was on a display for anti-racist reading so I decided to add it to my pile. I will be honest, I do not know too much about this book, but from what I read from the description it is taking a closer at the past and present of American society and how it ties into a caste system and how it influences daily life and opportunities.


What was the last book you added to your TBR? Have you read any of them, if so what did you think?

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Reviews · Wrap Up

Wrap Up | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my October wrap up. I am so glad that I was able to fit in some spooky read this month and really found quite a few I enjoyed. A really fun experience this month was when I took part in Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon, if you want to see a more in depth review of what that was like you can read my post called, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon Recap | October 2020. Even outside of this readathon, I feel like I had a really good month. Now, on to the books!


The Order of the DayThe Order of the Day by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

While the content and the writing overall easily warrants 4 or 5 stars I cannot give it this rating. The main reason being there are no footnotes or end notes to share any sources. Quotes that are in the text have no mention of where it is from, which is very disappointing. This is not acceptable for a nonfiction book.

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Teen Titans: Beast BoyTeen Titans: Beast Boy by Kami Garcia
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another wonderfully cone graphic novel from the author and illustrator, I cannot wait for the next bind up. It was really fun to see this versions origin story for beast boy . The story was great, the art was beautiful, and he next installment is hinted at just perfectly.

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FrankensteinFrankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was really fun to read the source material for so many adaptations on screen and on the page. This book has been on my bucket list for a long time and I can now say I have read it and I enjoyed it!

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Between the World and MeBetween the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the great words blurbed on the front of this book by Toni Morrison, “This is required reading”. Honestly I cannot agree with this quote more.

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The Amityville HorrorThe Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A great book to read during October, if you want a scary story this is a creepy one for sure. I read it mostly in a single day and it kept me engaged. I thought the way the story was organized and bounced between perspectives very well.

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UnboxedUnboxed by Briana Morgan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great plot and writing, great horror aspect and I like the used of an online “celebrity”. I knew I would enjoy this play, but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, I finished it in a single sitting.

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What was your favorite or least favorite read of October?

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Reviews

Someone Picks My Books | Storme Reads a Lot | I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

Hello and welcome to another installment of Someone Picks My Books! This month I had the wonderful Maggie from Storme Reads a Lot pick my read. Not only do they have a great blog, they also have a great twitter feed you can follow @hybibliophiliac. Now, this month I read I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, a true crime novel that was a great pick for October!


Picture of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark on a cover.

One Sentence Review

A very well written account of the crimes of the Golden State Killer, but also a good deal about the late author.

Description

A masterful true crime account of the Golden State Killer—the elusive serial rapist turned murderer who terrorized California for over a decade—from Michelle McNamara, the gifted journalist who died tragically while investigating the case. –goodreads.com


What I Liked

This book was a really good account of the crimes of the notorious serial killer known as The Golden State Killer. If you enjoy true crime, chances are you have heard about the things this man has done, but I will say that this the most in depth look at the crimes that I have read. You can see how much research the late author put into these events, but also looking into possibilities and theories. She did her own interviews and even made suggestions to officers.

Another thing that stands out to me when I was reading this novel was the fact that the story was so gripping. For me, it was gripping because it showed the horrors that humans alone can create. Now, when this was written, the Golden State Killer was not found yet, but this book is credited with keeping this, then unsolved case, in the public eye because of the way it is written. While it is a filled with horrific crimes and the horrible deeds done by this individual, I know I kept reading because I needed to know more. I wanted to know more because I wanted this person caught and I wanted to see what clues there were, even though the person responsible, at the time of my reading, was arrested and charged. I could only imagine readings this before that event.

What I Didn’t Like

Honestly, I thought this was only going to be about the Golden State Killer, but this book has a lot about the author. In some way I thought it really added to the book, going over how she researched and such. At times though, it seemed like there was a memoir spread out in the book. I really did enjoy that content, but I feel like it would have been more enjoyable for me personally if it was part one of the book and the Golden State Killer was in another. The book jumped so much for me personally, but I really liked all the content.

Overall

Overall, I thought this was a very engrossing read. As I said early this is a story not just about the Garden State Killer, but also about the late author. It is touching to hear the love that those who finished this book for her held, but also the dedication to the author passion. Brining this criminal to justice. If you enjoy true crime I feel like this could be a very enjoyable read.


Next month I am reading a book picked by Olivia who you can find on twitter as @oliviascatastro or on her youtube channel Olivia’s Catastrophe. I can’t wait for you to see what she picked for me!

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

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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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To Be Read

To Be Read | October 2020

Hello and welcome to my monthly TBR post. This month I am going to be keeping my TBR small and simple, especially since I now only have about 10 books on my owned TBR and my goal this month is to get it down to 5 books, I really hope I am able to do this! Anyway, here are the books I am planning on reading this month.



Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coats, I have been hearing about this book quite a lot over the last few months and I happened to come across this on discount at my local bookshop and I decided to pick it up. I will be honest, I don’t know too much about it, but I am quite excited to see what everyone has been talking about.

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, this is a horror novel that was picked for me by the service TBR. I have read a short story by this author before and enjoyed it so I am looking forward to seeing if I will continue to enjoy his works.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, this book was picked for me to read by Maggie from Storme Reads a Lot for my Someone Picks my Books series I have here on my blog. I am really excited to take a deep dive into such a propionate ex-cold case.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, I have not read this classic horror before, but I have watched so many adaptations and retellings that I feel like I could tell you what it is about. But, I decided for Halloween this year I am going to read this classic horror novel and put to the test how much of the story I actually know.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon, I started reading this earlier in September, but my schedule got in the way of me reading this tome all the way through. I am about 50% through at the time of writing this so it should not take me too long to finish this tale.


What are you planning on reading this month?

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