October TBR

For this month, I’m going to TRY to actually read more than 2 books in the month (it probably won’t happen) so let’s go for like, 4.

Here is my TBR and hopeful reading schedule for October!

The Beautiful

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In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

The Light at the Bottom of the World

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At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.

Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.

The Guinevere Deception

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There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom’s borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution–send in Guinevere to be Arthur’s wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king’s idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere’s real name–and her true identity–is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old–including Arthur’s own family–demand things continue as they have been, and the new–those drawn by the dream of Camelot–fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur’s knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

Fate of the Fallen

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The Shroud of Prophecy tests fate to discover what happens when the path of good and right, the triumph of light over darkness, the only path to salvation… fails.

Everyone loves Mathias. So naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

Mathias is thrilled for the adventure! There’s nothing better than a road beneath his feet and adventure in the air. Aaslo, on the other hand, has never cared for the world beyond the borders of his sleepy village and would be much happier alone and in the woods. But, someone has to keep the Chosen One’s head on his shoulders and his feet on the ground.

It turns out saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. Mathias is more than willing to place his life on the line, but Aaslo would love nothing more than to forget about all the talk of arcane bloodlines and magical fae creatures. When the going gets rough, folks start to believe their only chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the stories go. At all. To make matters worse Aaslo is beginning to fear that he may have lost his mind…

Gravemaidens

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The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I am so excited to read (hopefully) all of these this month! If I can manage to finish the current book I’m reading right now. . .

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Which October release are you most excited to get your hands on?

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To DNF or not to DNF

To DNF or to not DNF? It’s a difficult question to answer sometimes and one I had to ask myself recently with Gideon the Ninth. I find myself refusing to DNF because by the time I come to the realization that I don’t like a book, I’m over halfway through. At that point, I feel like I have to finish it. I mean, I’ve come so far, so why not? And then of course there are those books that I cannot get through, no matter how much I want to, and I have to put it down.

With Gideon, it’s the case of good book – wrong time. Love the story and the characters but it’s not a vibe I can get with right now. I wish I could get through this story and enjoy it, but I find myself falling asleep and getting bored. It’s unfortunate really because I want to like it, but I just can’t.

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So how do you decide whether or not to DNF a book? Well, that’s a matter that’s up to you reader. What is your limit? Usually I say if I can’t get into a YA book within 100 pages, then I give up on it, because it’s not going to get better after that. Sometimes I’m wrong, but that’s usually the page limit of when awesome stuff should be happening. With Gideon the Ninth, it’s a longer, adult novel, so this page count method doesn’t typically work. For adult fiction, I give it until the 25% mark to see if anything interesting happens, and DNF if not.

Some people are against DNFing, and will not give up on a book at all. I have those moments as well, but I also don’t have time to read books I don’t like or I’m not feeling. I think that whatever works for you is what works best! If you refuse to DNF, then don’t DNF. If you can’t get into a story and DNF, then more power to you! – read something you’re gonna love.

What are your thoughts on DNFing a book? Are you for or against and what is your criteria to meet?

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Halloween/Fall Reads You Need to Add to Your TBR Now

I love fall. It is absolutely my favorite season out of the four and that means I read a lot of fall and Halloween related books during this season.

These books are top notch to put you in a fall, spooky vibe so if you’re looking for something to make you check under your bed an extra time, check out these reads!

1. Bone Houses

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Seventeen-year-old Aderyn (“Ryn”) only cares about two things: her family, and her family’s graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae. The problem with being a gravedigger in Colbren, though, is that the dead don’t always stay dead.

The risen corpses are known as “bone houses,” and legend says that they’re the result of a decades-old curse. When Ellis, an apprentice mapmaker with a mysterious past, arrives in town, the bone houses attack with new ferocity. What is it that draws them near? And more importantly, how can they be stopped for good?

Together, Ellis and Ryn embark on a journey that will take them deep into the heart of the mountains, where they will have to face both the curse and the long-hidden truths about themselves.

2. The Grace Year

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Survive the year.

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

3. The Tenth Girl

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Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

4. Gideon the Ninth

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The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as skillfully animated as necromantic skeletons. The result is a heart-pounding epic science fantasy.

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and bone witch extraordinaire, has been summoned into action. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. If Harrowhark succeeds she will become an immortal, all-powerful servant of the Resurrection, but no necromancer can ascend without their cavalier. Without Gideon’s sword, Harrow will fail, and the Ninth House will die.

Of course, some things are better left dead.

5. Tunnel of Bones ***

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Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass’s parents are filming their TV show about the world’s most haunted cities. Sure, it’s fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there’s true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter — and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she’s unleashed could haunt the city forever.***

 

*** This is the second in a series – the first is called City of Ghosts

6. House of Salt and Sorrows

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Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

7. Spectacle 

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Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

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I am such a fan of horror, thriller, and spooky reads. Let me know which ones spark your interest this Halloween season! And if you have any recommendations, pass them here! I tried to focus on books published in 2019 – so let me know which other 2019 reads I missed.

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Making Assumptions About Books I’ve Never Read

I always find myself judging a book by its cover or even by the synopsis, which then determines if I read it, and I’m usually wrong. There have been so many times I have assumed what a book is about, then I read it, and I am so wrong! Like Serpent & Dove – was completely wrong about that book and what it was going to be about. So I’m curious how right I am in guessing the plot of a book based on its cover and title. Let’s see how well this goes . . .

Here are five books I’ve never read before, don’t know the plot, and I have to guess what they’re about. Let me know how right I am! All of these will be released reads so people will have had access to read/borrow them.

1.

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So I see a castle, a person wearing a robe, fire, and crows, and of course the title is The Merciful Crow. Based on all of that, I think this book is about a society focused around birds, specifically crows, who have magical powers or status. The magical people have become too powerful and now the world is ending (hence the fire and person standing with arms open). In order to save their world, they team up with the crows to fight back and … I’m not sure. There’s definitely a hierarchy though because of that castle. Maybe the royalty is ruining/ending the world?

NEXT!

2.

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So American Royals has a cover of a woman, wearing a beautiful shirt/dress, nice nails, and sunglasses. So obviously this book is about an average woman who falls in love with a prince/princess and is thrown into the world of royalty. She struggles to fit in, hates everyone, and almost leaves it all. Except her love is much too strong to leave and they eventually work it out – the end! I’m assuming this is similar to Crazy Rich Asians – which I shouldn’t assume, but that’s the only thing I could think of. Or its about royalty and their crazy, fabulous life! I’m not sure.

3.

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So obviously, the story is about someone inside their house. I would assume this a thriller novel or a murder mystery. I’m going to guess that this book is about a girl, a teenage girl, who is being stalked and has to hide from a murderer in her home. The entire book is a back and forth between present and past as she looks back on that horrible night. She may or may not be dead. Or I’m totally wrong and this is a slumber party novel! I guess we’ll find out!

4.

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Soooo I’m gonna go with clones. This is totally about clones and government control. You think you can choose your destiny and be your own person, but you’re actually a robot clone slave to the government who need you to be involved in a secret project. As they call the troops, you’re like, what the heck? I didn’t even know I was a part of this mess until now. All my friends are dying (cries). All I know about Kristoff books are that people die and most people cry, so I’m going with that.

5.

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So I know this is something about Russia/Russian myth? I think this is about a girl assassin in Russia who runs into a boy assassin and they have similar targets, but they can’t let the other person get it because if they do they lose money. Or maybe this is more magical, like blood magic stuff and they have to destroy the world? Based on the blood I know theres fighting and death in here, but I’m not sure exactly how it relates. And wicked could mean a lot of things, like they’re bad people or they’re wickedly good at what they do. This one is really hard because I genuinely have no idea. I think I’m going to go with more magic stuff mixing with the end of the world, but they kinda want to save it?

So how well did I do? This was embarrassing but still a lot of fun, so I hope you had fun with this too! Let me know what I may have gotten right and what I got absolutely wrong! Comment below what books I should guess next.

I tag Alexa over at Writing the Universe to do this challenge and let me know how it went!

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My Experience at ALA

This past weekend (June 22 – June 24) I attended my first ALA convention in Washington DC. Being a first timer, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up for it, but I was definitely excited!

Arriving an hour before the floor opened on Saturday, my friends Alexa, Morissa, and I stood in a calm line of about 100 people while we patiently waited for them to let us in. When 9:00am rolled around it was a calm wave of people checking badges as we descended the escalators down to the exhibit floor.

Within 1 hour I had filled my backpack and a large tote bag with books. It became so heavy, I had to transfer them to tote bags and check them in. We were so exhausted from all the books we were carrying, and the walking around, that we left early.

By the end of Day 1, I had a full backpack and two full tote bags. It was honestly painful walking the two blocks to the hotel next door to retrieve my car. Poor Alexa was also drowning in tote bags and a full backpack as we made our way to the car.

Here is what my day 1 haul looked like when I got home:

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For Day 2, I learned from my mistake and brought a freaking suitcase to haul everything back. I still had my backpack and tote bags, but fortunately I didn’t need to dump everything until about 11am that day. The plan for Sunday was to avoid the massive amount of books that we received on Saturday and stick to the most important ones:

  • A Heart so Fierce and Broken
  • The Burning Shadow
  • The Starless Sea
  • Tiger Queen

We not only got everything that we were looking for (SUCCESS!) but everything else that we were “trying” to avoid. And by trying, I mean accepting every ARC or book that was handed to us with minimal resistance. It was hard to say no! It was also hard to avoid asking or taking one that was being given away. Getting ARCs is never this easy and it was too hard to pass up on hundreds of them being given away.

While I didn’t get every book I wanted to (and there were SO many that I wanted to get), I got about 98% of them and for me, that is a crazy success.

After Sunday, with the amount we had accumulated, Alexa and I agreed that we were absolutely going to skip Monday. Which meant we missed out on probably 100 more books, but we had accrued almost 100 each and it was too much. Which is something I never thought I would say.

Here is my weekend ALA haul:

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The most surprising thing for me was 1) THESE WERE ALL FREE (wtf) and 2) It was so calm and easy. In my experience with book conventions, it’s always a massive struggle to get books, especially ARCs. Everyone is fighting over them and it’s pretty ruthless. At ALA it was as easy as saying please.

One shocking experience I had was at the Harper Collins booth, where they displayed titles of books that they brought with them to give away during the weekend. All you had to do was walk up, name the titles of books you wanted, and say thank you. That was how easy it was to walk away with six titles from them. Same with Penguin. And Macmillan.

As the convention wore on, some publishers became a bit more reserved in giving out books since a lot of people in attendance were readers and bloggers – which I understood. The point of the convention was the give out titles to librarians and book sellers so they can order the books. While bloggers are important, we weren’t necessarily the priority.

Overall, the experience was very relaxed for all the ARC drops and giveaways, with the exception of The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. That was probably the most chaotic part of the entire convention as hundreds of people were trying to get that book. Thankfully, being the first person in line as directed by one of the Penguin reps, I snagged a ticket. Originally, the signing line would be first come, first serve, but since people were lining up 3 hours early, (sorry) they had to change the plan. Everyone in line when tickets were handed out were guaranteed a book.

Skipping Monday was a hard decision, but leaving the convention with almost 100 books meant that I wasn’t going to have space to store them, much less read them, if I went for another day. It also saved us some gas and parking money!

Compared to BookCon, ALA was a calm, easy convention. It wasn’t hard to secure the titles you wanted, so long as you got there first. Nor was it an aggressive, blood thirsty mess. No one was hurt in retrieving books. The only disappointing thing was missing out on a title you wanted. But hey, you can’t get everything you want.

If ALA wasn’t in Chicago next year, I absolutely would go again in 2020. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can afford a vacation like that or the shipping costs for all those books. While it’s promoted as the Librarian conference, everyone is welcome to join ALA, as stated on their website. If you’re looking for a relaxed convention with books, friends, and cool displays, check it out! I will definitely try to go again soon.

May TBR – Unrealistic Goals

I always find myself saying I’m going to read certain books and then I never actually follow through with what I say I’m going to do. So here is my HOPE – I want to read all of these books, but we’ll see. Also, enjoy my comments with these titles, I thought it would add a bit of pizzazz.

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

      *** I’m already more than halfway through this book, I just put it down to review some other titles, but I’m going to finish it this month because it is amazing!!!

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Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

         This book is so beautiful and while I wasn’t a fan of Illuminae, I’ve heard nothing but amazing reviews – so I’m excited!

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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

I have been putting off reading this for so freaking long, even though the ARC is currently sitting on my shelf because – idk! I just need to read it. Why am I scared? 

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The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab

I will probably adore this book, I just need to pick it up and read it in a day. That’s how this works, right?

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Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

I will probably never hear the end of this, but yes, I have not read this book yet. I will read it, and hopefully that will happen in May! Also, do not come for me. I’m taking my time, I know!!

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Sightwitch by Susan Dennard

LOVED the first two books and I know I need to read this before Bloodwitch – so I’m going to read it!

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Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

And of course if I read Sightwitch I’m going to immediately start reading Bloodwitch because that’s what happens when you read Susan’s books! 

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Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

I’m still in shock I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m going to! I just might wait until after a few other, not so heart wrenching books have been read. 

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All right! This is my TBR for the month of May. This will most likely, actually definitely, change during the course of the month. That’s just how it goes sometimes. I hope to read all, if not most, of these though. I guess we’ll see which ones I get to during my May Wrap Up! Stay tuned for some more unrealistic goals!

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