Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up | February 2019

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After reading so many books in January I was bound to read less this month for two reasons. World became really, really busy and I was overwhelmed and the month is only 28 days long. Three more days I feel like I would have read more, but oh well there is always next month.

Even though I did not feel like I read a ton, I did manage to read 4 books, so a book a week is not bad at all. Three of those books were taken right off of my TBR while the fourth was one I reread. So, not to shabby over all. Without more rambling and me wishing I was able to read more, here are the books I read this month!

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In the Hurricane's Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at YorktownIn the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One thing I really liked about this was not only did it talk about Yorktown, it talked about what was going on right before and where the major players had their heads at. It explained things very well and had quite a few maps to help visually explain what was going on. This is a great addition if you ask me.

Being a history major I knew quite a bit of the information going into this book, but I did learn some new things and more details about the battle itself. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the battle or in the revolution. Beginner and those who know a bit of the details.

View all my reviews


Save the DateSave the Date by Morgan Matson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed how over the top this book is. The main character was a little in a lala land and idealized everything and at times I found it really annoying from time to time. I feel like she needed some tough love sooner rather than later when it came to living her own life in the real world.

I loved that the setting was at a wedding, I thought it was a really good setting. I laughed at some of the events and can I just say I loved the puppy waffle. The comedic timing of the puppy was spot on as well as his mischievous time.

Overall, this was a really good contemporary that broke up the heavy reading I have been reading as of late. I read through it very quickly when I did pick it up.

View all my reviews

 

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Middle Mark Books 2

I didn’t want to just rewrite my review, but if you want to know the details of my thoughts on these books please see my post, Middle Mark | February 2019. 

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Divider 2What is your favorite book you read this month? Have you read any of the books I have mentioned?What are you planning on reading next?

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TBR

November TBR | Non-Fiction November 2018

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I have been really looking forward to the month of November for some time thanks to Amy over at Tomes with Tea telling me she is only reading non-fiction in November. Well, if you know me you know I love reading non-fiction. It is one of my top genres to read, it seems more so since leaving university. Since hearing about this I have actually had to hold myself back from reading some of these books because I wanted to save them for this months theme of sorts. Here are the non-fiction books I will be reading this month. Divider

In the Hurricane’s Eye: The Genius of George Washington and the Victory at Yorktown by Nathaniel Philbrick

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

So this non-fiction focuses on US history during the American Revolution. I have previously learned about the events at Yorktown, but I just feel like I don’t really know enough if that makes any sense. Anyway, I picked it right away as soon as I saw it was a BOTM pick because I know that for this victory to have happened a lot of things needed to line up.

A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials by Frances Hill and Karen Armstrong

A Delusion of Satan: The Full Story of the Salem Witch Trials

A Delusion of Satan is a non-fiction account of the Salem Witch Trails this is not the first book I have picked up on the trials. In fact one of my favorite books, The Witches, is on this topic. But, when I went to Salem this summer I picked up this book and as soon as I read the first few pages in the cute little bookstore next to the hotel I knew I needed it. Also, can I just say that the cover is very striking.

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

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

So another one of my all time favorite books is Little Women and I was happy enough to visit the house in MA where it was written this summer. It was like a dream come true and you can really see the similarities in the book to the house it was written in. Anyway, when I was there I was in the shop and saw this book. It just came out the month I was there and the woman who worked there said she just read it and loved it. So I was sold right away. This book talked about the Alcott family and how the story of Little Women has impacted not only the author, but others as well. It is an interesting aspect of the book to write about.

Searching for the Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World by John Man

Searching for the Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World

So this book I happened to find browsing my local bookstore one day. I happened to go through the world history section and this caught my attention. I was always interesting in the Amazons. There are one of the few strong women groups that are talked about in history. As the quote goes “For most of history anonymous was a woman” I wish I knew who said this, but it is very true.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

So this is not the first time this book has been on my TBR, but I really want to read this since reading the first book she has written. This one is less on a memoir and more about death and how other cultures around the world have their own views and customs when dealing with death. I am curious to see how other cultures view death.

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What are you reading this month?

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Reviews

REVIEW | A Fierce Glory by Justin Martin

BookReview12:17A Fierce Glory: Antietam--The Desperate Battle That Saved Lincoln and Doomed Slavery
* I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

From an acclaimed author and historian, the dramatic, character-rich story of Antietam–the high-stakes battle Lincoln needed to win to save the Union and free the slaves

September 17, 1862, was America’s bloodiest day. When it ended, 3,654 soldiers lay dead on the land surrounding Antietam Creek in Western Maryland. The battle fought there was as deadly as the stakes were high.

For the first time, the Rebels had taken the war into Union territory. A Southern victory would have ended the war and split the nation in two. Instead, the North managed to drive the Confederate army back into Virginia. Emboldened by victory, albeit by the thinnest of margins, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves and investing the war with a new, higher purpose.

In this vivid, character-rich narrative, acclaimed author Justin Martin reveals why this battle was the Civil War’s tipping point. The battle featured an unusually rich cast of characters and witnessed important advances in medicine and communications. But the impact of the battle on politics and society was its most important legacy. Had the outcome been different, Martin argues, critical might-have-beens would have rippled forward to the present, creating a different society and two nations.

A Fierce Glory is an engaging account of the Civil War’s most important battle.

goodreads.com

 

What I Liked

Having lived in the U.S. I have been hearing about this battle from a young age and how it is the bloodiest of our history. Even moving on to University I learned even more and I though I had a very good grasp on the events of this battle. I am happy to say that this novel has shed some fresh light ton aspects of the battle I did not previously know or fully understand. Martin has done a great job in creating this unique and very well informed account.

One thing I look at while reading a non-fiction novel is I am very mindful of the footnotes/end notes. For me this can either make a nonfiction book or break it. When writing about nonfiction these authors need to cite a lot of documents and other articles to come across as legitimate and essentially prove that they did their due diligence while researching. It is apparent here that he has done just that. I also appreciated the mention of women dressing up in mens clothing so they too can fight.

Another thing I really enjoyed about A Fierce Glory was how the author showed how the soldiers and leaders lived and were affected. Additionally, the narrative benefited greatly by the author showing the battle in a large scope instead of focusing on the movements of soldiers. Often while reading a something about the battle you hear something along the lines of, so and so did this and then this happened. What was done with this account is very unique. Not only does the author NOT show you what happened, the historical figures do. This is something I think will benefit a lot of readers who normally would not pick up this genre.

What I Didn’t Like

While the author mentioned women taking part in the fighting, such as Barton, I just wanted to hear more. Now this is a person want and does not mean the book is not good in anyway. In fact, I am happy the author talked about women roles during the civil war. I just wish I could learn even more about it.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I would say this is a very solid look at Antietam and the bloodiest day in U.S. history. The way the author conveys the information give it a more human feeling instead of the others I have read that keep the readers at a distance from the people who fought by hiding behind troop movements. I really think this book would be well recommended for those who are interested in the battle, U.S. History, and want to get into reading nonfiction. The way in which this is written makes it very accessible.

4stars

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Author Links

Justin  Martin

Twitter: JustinMartinNYC

 

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Book Information

Publisher: Da Capo Press

Publication Date: September 11th 2018

List Price: $28.00

ISBN: 9780306825255

Pages: 320pages

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Reviews

REVIEW | Jefferson’s Daughters by Catherine Kerrison

Book Review

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Surprise I have a review! Also, a quick heads up. I received this book through netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description

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.

What I Liked

I have to say I really enjoyed a few things about this book. I like how Kerrison was not afraid to talk about slavery and shedding light and discuss the practice. I know a lot of authors write about the founding fathers they tend to or at least used to skip this part because of various reasons. Not only did she discuss it she showcased it right from the start. As many say, you must study the mistakes of the past to not make them again, so I am glad the whole past is being shown. Another thing I liked was how she introduced this story. She starts off with an informative introduction, but she also went back a few generations to set the “stage”. Not only did she talk about the birth of Jefferson’s daughters with Martha, she also discusses the lineage of Harriet to show that they truly were family by blood and not just in one way. For me that really sent a message. I myself am very close with my family and if I had half sister I could never imagine owning them. It just sheds more light on the mentality and the madness of the whole system. Lastly, I really liked the fact that I learned things I have never heard before.

What I Didn’t Like

One thing I wish I had seen in this book, but may not be an issue in the final edition, is the fact that there is a bibliography, but there are no endnotes or foot notes to explain which facts are from which sources. If I were  to research this topic more and look to this book for a direction, I will have a difficult time finding the document that is relevant.

Overall Thoughts

Over all I thought this was a wonderful book. It was eye opening and genuinely learned from it. Even if you are not a lover of history, I would say this book is still worth the read. It deals with social norms of the time and it really leads you to reflect and think about how some individuals can be as great as to write the Declaration of Independence, but at the same time break his word and refuse to free his own children because that would not be acceptable. But, is also shows you that even if you have a sibling and the circumstances are a little different your lives could be very, very different. Lastly, this is a well done book, you can tell a lot of thought and research went into it.


Book Information

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Expected Publication: January 2nd, 2018

List Price: $18.99 (Amazon.com)

ISBN: 9781101886243

Pages: 288 pages


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Life, DIYs, & Cooking

Bookstore Travels

A few weeks ago I drove a few hours to Princeton University and walk around the historic campus and downtown. To my amazement when we were walking around the downtown I found a cute little bookstore that I HAD to go into. Let’s just say I spent an hour in here easily.

The Bookstore: Labyrinth Books 

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What cause my eye first about this bookstore was the fact that they had 6 or 7 tables out front piled high with books. Not only were there so many outside they were ALL on sale! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE when books are on sale. It means I can buy more and not feel as guilty about spending money on them.

When I finally combed through all of the sale books I headed inside dragging my friend along. The inside was bright and beautiful. There were books on two floors. There were displays by subjects, new releases, ancient texts, and classics. What I liked the most was the wide range of non-fiction that I don’t normally find in my local bookstores. So jealous of people who live a reasonable distance away from this place. Here are a few pictures I was able to take inside the shop.


After spending about an hour in this store I ended up leaving with three gorgeous books. Still so sad I have to travel hours to get to this place!

The Haul:

 


I think I want to plan some more day trips to far off bookstores. On a side note, this campus is just as beautiful as the bookshop!

What is your favorite bookstore you love to visit?

 

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Hauls

Birthday Book Haul!

Book Haul

Some of you may have know, but my birthday was a few days ago and I was lucky enough to get a few books for my birthday this year. Normally my family and friends just pick out gift cards from Barns and Noble or Amazon so I can pick some stuff for myself, which is great. But, it is very nice when someone picks a book or books out just for you. Here are the books friends and family got me this year.

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The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf

The first book my Mom picked up for me is The Invention of Nature because she knows I enjoy science, nature, and non-fiction. Even though in my picture you can only see the spine, click the title to look at the actual cover. It is absolutely beautiful. Not only does it have a beautiful cover, I read the description (below) and it sounds really interesting. I cannot wait to eventually pick it up and read it.

Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) was an intrepid explorer and the most famous scientist of his age. In North America, his name still graces four counties, thirteen towns, a river, parks, bays, lakes, and mountains. His restless life was packed with adventure and discovery, whether he was climbing the highest volcanoes in the world or racing through anthrax-infected Siberia or translating his research into bestselling publications that changed science and thinking. Among Humboldt’s most revolutionary ideas was a radical vision of nature, that it is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of humankind alone.

– via goodreads


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

This is the second of three books my Mom picked up for me. I have been really into suspense/thriller reads as of late. Once again I read the description and was very happy with this pick. There is a great mixture of mystery and history. I am very excited to see what unfolds in this book.

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace.

– via goodreads


The Secret History by Donna Tartt

This is the last book my Mom picked out for me. I read The Goldfinch and generally liked it overall, but found faults with it. You can read a little bit more of my review in my post  #TBRTakeDown: Wrap Up. Anyway, my mom picked this up because I have mentioned I have wanted to try another book by her. This one is much shorter so I am more confident this book will not have the same large flaws, fingers crossed!

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.

– via goodreads


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

One of my best friends picked this up for me because I LOVED The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I was so happy when I finally got it open. My friend loves to wrap presents in a way that makes it very difficult to open so she can watch people struggle. She put it in a box, surrounded it by two bags, and then wrapped it completely in duct tape. I was not allowed to use scissors. Anyway, I was so excited to get it open AND it to be this book.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

– via goodreads


A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

My wonderful boyfriend bought me a personalized autograph copy of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I am so grateful and excited! I am so worried to actually read this because I don’t want to ruin it. I may put in a call to the library and carry that one around instead.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court.

– via goodreads


I am so happy with the book I received for my birthday and I wanted to once again thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday. It meant so much to me. Have a great day and happy reading!

What book would you pick to read out of the ones mentioned?

 

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TBR

MAY TBR: 2017

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This month I am giving myself a small TBR for two reasons. The first reason is that this month is my birthday month and I am seeing friends I have not seen in quite some time over the next few weeks ends. If you have read my post: My Reading Routine you will know I read mostly during the weekends. The second reason is work is generally a bit overwhelming this time of year so I take quite a bit home with me. Regardless, I plan on reading some good books!

 

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The first book on my TBR is 11/22/63 by Stephen King. Stephen King books are my happy place I have realized. Lately, I have been DNFing a lot of books. I’m not sure if my reading tastes have changed or I have just become horrible at picking books. Regardless of the reason I have decided to pick up a book by an author who has never let me down. This book is a mixture of history and time travel, how can that not be good?

 

 

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The Next book on my list is Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik. This non-fiction books discusses the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I want to read this for two reasons, one I love learning about other peoples lives and experiences. The second reason is because it discusses the civil rights and U.S. government policies since she has been a Justice. Flipping through the book it has copies of documents, photos, cartoons, and other graphics that seem intriguing.

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The last book I plan on reading this month is SPQR by Mary Beard. This is a non-fiction book that discusses the history of Ancient Rome. Even though I have studied history, I have realized that this is an area I am not that well versed in. So I plan on fixing that. Now, this one is one is a large one. So even if I only get half way through it this month I will be proud of myself.

 

 

 


So, those are the three books I plan on reading this month, chances are there will be a few more sprinkled in between. Especially with all the non-fiction, but we shall see what happens. Just so you know all titles are links to each books goodreads page incase you want to know more about these books.

Happy Reading!


What books are you reading this month? Have you read any of the books I have mentioned?

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Reviews

REVIEW: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

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

There are a few things I would like to start off with before I go into this book review. The first being is that this book really hit me hard. I had to set it down a few times because the emotional roller coaster it put me through. This book talks about not only extremely brave and courageous women, but also how they suffered. Secondly, I wanted to let you know that I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In this book Kate Moore talks about workers rights and women’s rights as humans. She tells the story of those “lucky” women who were picked to paint clock faces 31409135with the shining element Radium. She writes this historical book with support from documentation, but presents it in a humanizing way. I have to say as someone who studied history, this is one of the few books that made me feel. Many history based texts are filled with facts to a point the reader is disconnected from the events. That is not the case for The Radium Girls, from almost the start I saw these people as humans, not a statistic. In the beginning of the book Moore states “no book existed that put the radium girls center stage and told the story from their perspective” (location 22, netgally PDF version), well I have to say she succeed, she gave them a voice and a spotlight.

I really liked how much thought was put into this book. Moore not just read about these women in the archives, but traveled and visited their families, their  loved ones. She took the time to know them outside of the documents. This can be seen throughout the book. I also enjoyed that this book was written more as a narrative, like we were following these women, not just reading about them. I honestly found it refreshing. I also liked how raw it was, Moore not only wanted you to connect with these women and give them a voice, but to also showed everything they went through. Earlier I said that Moore discusses workers rights and women’s rights and that is true. These women were told that this element was not harmful in the slightest, to the point they put their used brushes into their mouths. They were lied to, as humans and as workers. Now I also said that this book discussed women’s rights, and it does. During this time period, women were seen as less, they were not valued. Regardless, they came together to fight for what was right. It really blew me away how brave these women were.

Over all I decided to give this book a 4/5 stars. It was a great read and I highly suggest it to anyone who is interested in learning about how Radium was used, its effects, workers rights, and those who are interesting in reading about strong women. But, as I stated earlier, this book can really affect you. It goes into detail how being exposed to Radium effected these women, which I think is important, but might not be for everyone. This book is expected to be published on May 2nd, 2017.

4 STARS!

If you are interested in finding out more about The Radium Girls by Kate Moore or reading more reviews click here to go over to the goodreads page.


Book Information

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017

List Price:$26.99

ISBN:9781492649359

Pages: 480


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TBR

April TBR: 2017

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Aprils TBR is going to be a short one, mainly because it is going to be a very busy month and I do not want to overwhelm myself. But, the four books I have picked I am very much looking forward to. In fact, I am going to pick up The Radium Girls as soon as I finish writing this post!

Both The Radium Girl by Kate Moore and A Short History of the Russian Revolution by Groffrey Swain are books I received from Netgalley to review. Both are historical, nonfiction. The Radium Girls follows the stories of various women who painted clock faces with the element radium to make them illuminate before the heath risks were truly know. It explores their stories and the effect their work had on them as the years passed. I have started reading this one already and it is historical, but also personable. It does not take away the humanity of these women with endless facts and figures.

A Short History of the Russian Revolution is something I studied while at school and I continue to be interested in.  So, when I saw this on Netgalley I submitted a request right away and was thrilled to get approved.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle I have gotten myself. Both are books I have very much wanted to get to. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses when it first came out and enjoyed it, but sadly I have not gotten to the second book in the series, I plan to correct that before the next book comes out. Fingers crossed I succeed!

On a more classic note I recently have been on a Sherlock Holmes binge and I am reading all of the stories and short stories in publication order and The Sign of Four is next in line. I have to say I was expecting the writing to be dull and difficult, but it read very modern. I have been devouring the stories.


What are you reading this month?

 

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Wrap Up

Wrap Up: January 2017

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5 star reads:

This book has a mixture of beautiful pictures and words that will leave you thinking about the world you live in.


4 star reads:

Volume two left me on the edge waiting for Vol 3, don’t want to share much because it is the 2nd volume, but there is a lot going on. All I have to say is if you like action and fun pick it up.

This book was just the right mixture of creepy and interesting. I read this book in a single day. If you like books that are creepy, eerie, or are a commentary on the human soul pick up this book!

This collection of poetry was enjoyable and I nearly loved every single one.

This was a fun sequel to The Rosie Project, I will say at times it seemed like the characters weren’t acting like themselves. Don’t let that stop you from picking up this short series, I throughly enjoyed it. I was connected to the characters throughout both books and was always cheering for them to get a happy ending because there were quite a few hiccups.

The Grownup is fun and fast paced, it really made me think. I have to say the ending to this book messed with my mind a bit. I highly recommend this thriller since it is short,”fun”, and under 100 pages.


3 star reads:

I picked this up mainly to learn more about Stephen King, it was a mixture of his life and writing advice. I personally did not pick it up for the writing advice, while it is very good, it broke up the story of his life for me.

This was a mixture of short letters in the last few days of WWII. Some of the letters were very enjoyable while others didn’t really tell me much about life at the end of the war. Some just happened to be written then, but did not discuss it.


2 star reads:

I have learned something about myself this month, I do not enjoy love poems. If you love…love poems it would be a nice little collection to add to your TBR. Side note, without the dust jacket it is gorgeous!


1 star reads:

The story was disjoined and just ridiculous. I did not enjoy at all.


 

Well, those are the books I read in January. I have to say I am proud of what I read especially since this month was very busy for me. I hope you all had a great reading month as well.


What did you  read this month and which was your favorite?

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