The Bookshelf Corner

Writer. Blogger. Book Reviewer.


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Recent Additions to My Kindle That Prove I Have No Shelf Control

Another day, another opportunity to willingly be bespelled by books.

One recent addition was from my wish list (always a plus) at the tantalizing price of 99 cents and the rest were free kindle titles that piqued my interest as well. My latest additions are:

  • The Bachelor Bargain by Maddison Michaels (historical romance)
  • Manners and Monsters by Tilly Wallace (historical paranormal romance/mystery)
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Kait Nolan (adult contemporary holiday romance)
  • The Vampire Heir by Juliana Haygert (paranormal romance)
  • A Vampire Bewitched by L.E. Wilson (paranormal romance)

What I like most about these books is how different they are and that their genres are ones I want to read more often (historical fiction and vampires). If I remember correctly, The Bachelor Bargain I discovered via another book blogger (one of the best kinds of ways to discover new books) and the others were casual browsing finds through recommended/read-alike lists.

Anyway, thank goodness it’s Friday plus a three-day weekend from work. I’m hoping to catch up on a lot of reading and get a jump-start on next week’s work. This weekend I’d also like to try baking a funfetti cake for the first time, so that’ll be…interesting.

Enjoy your weekend!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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📚🎁 A (sort-of) Christmas Book Haul 🎁📚

Christmas 2021 book haul

Happy First Friday of 2022! How has your year been going so far?

It’s been a bit topsy-turvy at work this week due to rising cases and weather. At the moment, my area is at high risk. So we are doing our best to keep calm and stay safe.

I haven’t made much progress in my current reads. One I’m really enjoying so far and the other I haven’t started but it’s all good. Trying not to rush getting reading done.

I got new books around Christmas and with Christmas money. The last of the books finally arrived yesterday, which put a big smile on my face.

Pictured above are all the physical books. I got:

  • Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo (volumes 2-6), and
  • Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce

A few ebooks I got (not pictured):

  • Dark Alpha’s Caress by Donna Grant
  • Fire & Flood by Demitria Lunetta
  • Archangel’s Kiss by Anna Santos, and
  • The Watchmaker’s Daughter by C.J. Archer

You can surely guess how happy I am to have more books to add to my bookshelf and kindle.

Spy x Family – I hope to have time to set aside to binge read soon. Lady Knight – this is one of my all-time favorite books by one of my all-time favorite authors so a reread is incoming! Dark Alpha’s Caress – I’ve been meaning to get back to this series for a long time and when I saw the ebook was 99 cents I HAD to get it. Archangel’s Kiss – a freebie that was recommended in another author’s newsletter. Fire & Flood and The Watchmaker’s Daughter – other freebies that sounded interesting enough for me to want to try.

That’s it for today. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Stay safe! 💙


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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2021 Wrap-Up + The Book, Cover, and Author of the Year

Happy Friday & Happy New Year’s Eve!

Whew! We did it. We made it to the end of 2021. I am forever grateful to books for getting me through this challenging year. I had a lot of great and profound reading experiences throughout the year. Good times I’ll remember fondly. Plus, the blog has grown and achieved a few new milestones, which I’m very happy about.

Without further delay, here’s my 2021 wrap-up along with my top favorite reads of 2021 and the cover/author/book of the year.

2021: Goodreads Reading Challenge

As of this post I’ve read 132 books (maybe 133 if I can finish this final read – A Dragon for Christmas by Zoe Chant – before the ball drops).

Screenshot of completed Goodreads Reading Challenge widget of 132 books of 100 goal for 2021.

December Reviews Posted

I posted 26 reviews this month of mostly 4-star reads. All in all, a good month for books.

Getting His Game Back  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wife by Wednesday  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I Am Enough  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Good Egg  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Cool Bean  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Sunny Makes A Splash  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Only Mostly Devastated  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Introvert Doodles  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Strictly No Elephants  | ⭐⭐⭐
The Suite Spot  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Falling for Zeke  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐1/2
Welcome to the Ballroom (Volume 1)  | ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Gratitude is My Superpower  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Red: A Crayon’s Story  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Garden We Share  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
House of Beating Wings (excerpt)  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I Am (Not) Scared  | ⭐⭐⭐
We Are (Not) Friends |  ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Awakened  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Damaged Goods  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Dragon’s Breath  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I’ve Loved You Since Forever  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodnight Moon  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wildfire Griffin  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐
All Systems Red  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Restart  | ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Favorite December Reads

My favorite December reads were Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales, The Suite Spot by Trish Doller, and All Systems Red by Martha Wells.

Favorite Blog Posts I Wrote

Below are posts I wrote from the past year that I had a lot of fun making and sharing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Purple, Gold, and/or Green Book Covers (Happy Mardi Gras!)
Book to Movie Adaptations I’d Love To See
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Whose Job I Wish I Had
Top Ten Tuesday: Colorful Book Covers
Outfits On Book Covers I Want In My Closet
My Favorite Book Mentors
Top Ten Tuesday: Older Reads I Loved and Will Always Recommend
Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Love An Update On

Top 12 Favorite Reads of 2021

My top 12 favorite reads of 2021 were Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis, Set to Music by Negeen Papehn, Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston, Float Plan by Trish Doller, The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison, Brothersong by TJ Klune, Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein, Spy x Family (volume 1) by Tatsuya Endo, Thanks A Lot, Universe by Chad Lucas, Rock Hard by Nalini Singh, and Feel the Fire by Annabeth Albert.

I highly recommend all of these 5-star titles!

Honorable Mentions:
Bloodsworn  ●  Unplugged  ●  Drawn Together

Covers of the Year

I chose Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao, and Bloodsworn by Scott Reintgen. for Cover of the Year. These stunning, beautiful covers took my breath away. I would gladly have these as wall art decor in my house.

Authors of the Year

For this category, I chose authors whose works I especially enjoyed and really want to read more from.

B.B. Alston  ●  TJ Klune  ●  Whitney D. Grandison

Nalini Singh  ●  Trish Doller  ●  Danielle L. Jensen

Courtney Ellis  ●  Annabeth Albert  ●  Chad Lucas

Book of the Year

This was probably the toughest choice I had to make this year but I chose two books that really wowed me, left a huge impression on me that still lingers, and brought me to tears. Book of the Year went to Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune and At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis!

Final Thoughts – Farewell 2021

While 2021 was a good reading year for me, it’s also put into perspective what I want for myself and this blog going forward. I’ve been slowly making changes in all aspects of my life and 2022 will see the beginning of those wishes implemented. But more on that in an upcoming January Happenings post.

I want to thank you all for reading, commenting, and liking my posts. I am so happy to be in this space, blogging and gushing and reminiscing about all things books. You are the best!

I hope you all have a splendid weekend and a happy New Year!

 

Sincerely,

Christina


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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The Best of the Best Books of 2021: here are my favorites

Hello, again! Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! It’s been a busy while relaxing, reading, and just enjoying my time off work. This break was much needed for everyone.

Today’s post is a rewind, reminiscing about all the books I read this year and sharing the ones that stood out and left big impressions on me.

This year seems harder than past ones because I read so many good books! It was difficult to choose just one for some of the categories I’m using below. But we’re book lovers. Choosing just one book rarely is an option.

In 2021, I surpassed my reading goal of 100 books and read 27,146 pages across 131 books.

I’m still reading “Operation Sisterhood” but will be able to finish before the year is over. That review will be posted January 4 (its release day).

Through much deliberation, here are the best of the best books of 2021:

Best Picture Book was:

Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat

Honorable Mentions:
Eyes That Kiss In The Corners Bedtime Bonnet

Best Middle Grade was:

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston

Honorable Mentions:
Thanks A Lot, Universe ● Unplugged

Best LGBTQIAP+ Fiction was:

Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Image via NetGalley

Honorable Mentions:
Ana on the EdgeBat BoyBrothersong Feel the FireOnly Mostly DevastatedOne Last StopThanks A Lot, Universe

Best Young Adult Romance was:

The Right Side of Reckless by Whitney D. Grandison

Honorable Mentions:
Radha & Jai’s Recipe for RomanceYou’ve Reached SamOnly Mostly Devastated

Best New Adult Romance was:

Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein

Honorable Mention:
Bat Boy One Last Stop

Best Adult Romance was:

Set to Music by Negeen Papehn &
At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis

Honorable Mentions:
Feel the FireRock HardFloat PlanA Lowcountry BrideHome to MeWaiting for YouAll Night Long with a CowboyGetting His Game Back

Best Paranormal Romance was:

Brothersong by TJ Klune

Honorable Mentions:
Wildfire Griffin The Boss

Best Fantasy was:

Bloodsworn by Scott Reintgen,
Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston, &
Celestial by Olivia Wildenstein

Honorable Mentions:
Roar A Swift and Savage Tide These Feathered Flames Gilded Serpent

Best Manga Volume was:

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo (Vol. 1)

Honorable Mention:
An Incurable Case of Love

Best Standalone Novel was:

At Summer’s End by Courtney Ellis
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune, &
Set to Music by Negeen Papehn

Best 2021 Release was:

*For this, I’m listing all my favorites because there were too many new releases that I absolutely loved. This year I read more new releases than any other year.*

All Night Long with a Cowboy    Amari and the Night Brothers  ●  Ana on the Edge  ●  Be Dazzled  ●  Bloodsworn  ●  Celestial    Eyes that Kiss in the Corners  ●  Float Plan  ●  Gilded Serpent  ●  Home For A Cowboy Christmas  ●  A Lowcountry Bride  ●  My City Speaks  ●  One Last Stop  ●  Open Your Heart  ●  Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance  ●  The Right Side of Reckless  ●  Set to Music  ●  The Squire  ●  At Summer’s End   ●  A Swift and Savage Tide  ●  Thanks A Lot, Universe  ●  These Feathered Flames  ●  Trashlands  ●  Truly Tyler  ●  Unplugged  ●  Under the Whispering Door  ●  Wednesday Wilson Gets Down to Business  ●  You Can Go Your Own Way  ●  You’ve Reached Sam

 

So those were some of my top favorite reads from the year. It’s been another amazing reading journey that I’m going to remember fondly. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my wrap up along with my favorite book, cover, and author of 2021.

See you then!


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Currently Reading – October 11, 2021

Happy Monday!

What is the genre of your current read?

I’m stepping outside my comfort zone and am reading a speculative cli-fi novel, Trashlands by Alison Stine, that I was invited to participate in a blog tour for. Speculative fiction and dystopian aren’t genres I actively seek out. But I’m intrigued.

There’s something in the synopsis that draws me in. Perhaps it’s the main character able to make art in a despondent place (a light in the darkness). Perhaps it’s because the setting isn’t a not so impossible future. I also didn’t know cli-fi (climate fiction) was a thing, but totally worth exploring. All in all, I think it’ll be a good read.


Image via NetGalley

ABOUT: A few generations from now, the coastlines of the continent have been redrawn by floods and tides. Global powers have agreed to not produce any new plastics, and what is left has become valuable: garbage is currency.

In the region-wide junkyard that Appalachia has become, Coral is a “plucker,” pulling plastic from the rivers and woods. She’s stuck in Trashlands, a dump named for the strip club at its edge, where the local women dance for an endless loop of strangers and the club’s violent owner rules as unofficial mayor.

Amid the polluted landscape, Coral works desperately to save up enough to rescue her child from the recycling factories, where he is forced to work. In her stolen free hours, she does something that seems impossible in this place: Coral makes art.

When a reporter from a struggling city on the coast arrives in Trashlands, Coral is presented with an opportunity to change her life. But is it possible to choose a future for herself?

Told in shifting perspectives, Trashlands is a beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative tale of a parent’s journey, a story of community and humanity in a changed world.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Bookish Things I Do When I Can’t Sleep

A bed with pillows, a closed book, and glasses on it that says "Bookish Things I Do When I Can't Sleep" in teal text outlined in white.

Sleep and I kind of have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. On those nights, if I can’t get back to sleep right away, I’ll find something to do to occupy my time until I start feeling ready again to go back to sleep. More often than not I’ll engage in bookish activities.

One bookish thing I do when I can’t sleep is (of course) read whatever I’m currently reading. It helps make progress, especially if I’m behind.

I’m a list maker by nature, so I’ll ponder bookish thoughts of future TBRs I want to. I love to plan and it’s fun to think about upcoming reads I’m excited for.

Speaking of planning ahead, if an idea strikes, I’ll try to come up with blog post ideas or work on drafts of posts.

Can’t sleep? Behind in writing reviews? Now is as good of a time as any to get those done!

And, finally, when I can’t sleep, I do what I do best: look up new books to read and add to my never-ending tbr.

So when sleep eludes me I try to make the most of my time and get things done. Or, you know, just lay there and hope to get back to sleep soon.


What do you do when you can’t sleep? What’s your routine for a good night’s sleep?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Taglines That Give Me Chills (Part 3)

Title that reads "Book Taglines That Give Me Chills [Part 3]" with a blended blue and purple watercolor background.

Happy Tuesday!

I’m back with more sensational book taglines that are music to my ears. For part 3, I chose taglines from books I haven’t read but were mostly of upcoming 2021 releases.

I sometimes wonder if it’s difficult to come up with taglines. Finding those choice words that encapsulate an entire story or feeling or essence.

Sometimes it seems like one of those things that look so easy or the answer is so obvious why couldn’t I think of that type of thing. When I write I’m always stressing about diction because I want to clearly express what I want to say in a way that draws the reader in.

Here are more taglines I love:

 

Lose your memory. Find your life.
Restart by Gordon Korman

Death is only their beginning.
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Some loves are meant to be. Others are awkward.
A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison

How do you move forward when everything you love is on the line?
You’ve Reached Sam by Dustin Thao.

Sisterhood is survival.
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

Where the sea ends, the magic begins.
The Circus at the End of the Sea by Lori R. Synder

One spark ignites their passion but will their friendship go down in flames?
When Sparks Fly by Helena Hunting

Sometimes a breakup is your chance to break out.
Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

 

For more amazing taglines, check out my previous posts on taglines (part 1 and part 2). Let me know in the comments your favorite taglines.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Currently Reading – September 13, 2021

Happy Monday!

What are you currently reading?

Hello, everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend! I spent most of the time reading and recharging and just doing whatever. I meant to post this reading update on Saturday, but I was so tired and mentally occupied from work I completely forgot about writing it.

Image via NetGalley

This week I’ll be reading an arc I received a couple months ago called How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan. I’m 38% through at the time I’m writing this post and, so far, it’s been a good read.

This is a fun enemies to lovers story. Grace and Noah have already clashed several times. Their “good neighborly” feud and attraction is really entertaining to watch unfold.

What I didn’t know was that Noah is one of Chris’s older brothers from Sullivan’s previous book, Ten Rules For Faking It, so that was a nice surprise connection. I really enjoyed that story, so I’m even more excited for this current one.

I’m also liking all the side characters, especially Morty (an elderly man Grace was living with at the start of the novel), Josh (who is Noah’s assistant), and Rosie, (Grace’s best friend and fellow student designer). And it’s been nice reuniting with Chris and Everly (other MC from previous book).

It’s gonna be a good reading week.


ABOUT: Interior Design School? Check. Cute little house to fix up? Also check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of all your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis definitely has it all figured out. In between finishing interior design school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree. She’ll have her dream job. And most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her cold, manipulative mother could never make for her. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—an adorable little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. A real estate developer with a knack for betting and winning big, he’s not one to let a good opportunity slip away. So when a beachside house with great bones is ripe for a remodel and flip, Noah doesn’t hesitate. Except in order to spruce it up properly (is it even a beach house if it doesn’t have a pool?), he’ll need to take over the house next door. The house with the willful and combative and way-too-intriguing woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can turn out to be the person who shows you that home is always where the heart is.


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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My Favorite Book Mentors

A chalkboard that says "Favorite Book Mentors" on it.

September means back to school for millions of people of all ages. Since I work in a school and being September already, I wanted to do a back to school post. I thought about the awesome teachers I’ve been so lucky to work with. How could I tie this into books?

I was fortunate enough to have had a lot of great teachers when I was a student. In hindsight, I wish I’d had a mentor to guide me because while I did well enough academically, I struggled in other areas where a mentor could have made a difference when I had no idea how to help myself.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines mentor (noun) as “a trusted counselor or guide” and as a “tutor, coach.” A Google search also yields this result, “an experienced and trusted advisor” (noun) who “advise[s] or train[s] (someone, especially a younger colleague)” (verb).

Throughout my reading journey I’ve come across plenty of book characters who have guided the (usually) main character during periods of darkness, uncertainty, rejection, sadness, and fear. They don’t make decisions for the character, but provide as much as they could all the tools and knowledge necessary to make an informed decision or conclusion. They helped characters to find the power within themselves to achieve their goals, independence, empathy, and responsibility. The characters come out a better version of their previous self for having known these mentor-esque individuals.

Thinking a lot about the positive impact mentors can have on someone, I decided to write a blog post about my favorite book mentors.

 

Image via Goodreads

Lark, Niko, Frostpine, Rosethorn to Sandry, Tris, Daja, Briar
Circle of Magic series

Sometimes unusual magic requires a specific kind of assistance. In the Circle of Magic series, four young, newfound mages with unique magic are sent to Winding Circle to cultivate and learn to use their powers. Four distinct, powerful individuals (Lark, Niko, Frostpine, and Rosethorn) are brought in to instruct Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar.

What I love about these mentors is their personality, their gifts, their approach to magic and life, and how they bring out the best in their mentees. They bring out who these kids are deep down and allow them to flourish. Much of what Sandry, Trish, Daja, and Briar overcome be partially attributed to the guidance (and home) their mentors gave them.


Image via NetGalley

Harriet Barnett to Aidan Hall
All Night Long with a Cowboy by Caitlin Crews

Once a Hall, always a Hall. Expect the worst – or so it’s believed.

In my review of All Night Long with a Cowboy, I mentioned my displeasure over assumptions people made of characters, especially teenage bad boy, Aidan. These assumptions have caught Aidan in a never-ending cycle of bad behavior too strong to fight. Until Harriet decides to do something about it.

Harriet is patient, matter-of-fact, practical, and a no-nonsense kind of person. In the summer, she has gotten some struggling students to slowly but sure achieve some kind of academic success. She also sees Aidan for who he really is and is willing to help Aidan (as long as he puts forth the effort to) change and go after what he really wants for his life. I really like where Aidan’s storyline ended.


Image via Goodreads

Halt to Will
Ranger’s Apprentice series

Halt is a wonderfully grumpy and grizzled Ranger, renowned Ranger throughout the kingdom of Araluen. When he’s not defending the kingdom or on a mission, he typically stays out of sight (a feat as easy as breathing for a Ranger), tucked away in his cabin with his horse, Abelard, his only company. Before the start of the series, he’s only ever had one apprentice. So imagine his (and probably everyone’s) surprise when he decides to make young Will an apprentice Ranger.

Halt is very good with Will even if people-ing is not his strong suit and unnecessary questions are the bane of his existence. Eventually, the two form a bond that exceeds blood and the mentor-mentee relationship.


Image via NetGalley

Hugo to Wallace Price
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Hugo is a ferryman to the newly dead. It’s not an easy job nor is it for everyone. Hugo is one of those special individuals who are just so…awe inspiring.

When a new case (Wallace) arrives at his unconventionally constructed tea shop, Hugo tries to help them to come to terms with being dead and eventually move on to whatever’s next. There are successes and failures, but Hugo’s methodology is one of patience, sympathetic understanding, wisdom, and one million percent heart.

Hugo’s approach  is the kind of care and attention someone like Wallace Price – a cold, apathetic lawyer – is going to need while he reexamines how he’s lived his life, how he’s treated others, and what he thought he knew to be true.


Image via Goodreads

Cartier Evariste/Aodhan Morgane to Brienna
The Queen’s Rising duology

Brienna is running out of time to find an area to passion in so she can be chosen by a patron like her House sisters until Cartier (a passion of knowledge) takes her under his wing.

Under Cartier’s easy demeanor and calm tutelage, Brienna begins to find something she really enjoys and excels in. From Cartier, Brienna draws strength and purpose, which will come in handy to face a future she could have never expected.

 

This post ended up way longer than I thought. I didn’t know I had that much to say about this. But if you’ve made it this far, thanks for stopping by and reading my post! I hope you enjoyed it.

Do you have a favorite book mentor?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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First Read of September

Happy Saturday!

Although I don’t have a definite tbr planned for September, I’m deciding to start the month off by reading Servant of the Crown by Duncan M. Hamilton.

Image via Goodreads

Yes, it’s the third book I’m reading from him this summer but also the final book of a captivating fantasy trilogy.

Gill and Solène have come a long way since book 1. They gone through so much to reclaim and gain control over their lives (respectively), while at the same time facing off against dragons and whatever evil machinations the devious, and power-hunger Amaury sends their way.

It never gets easier saying farewell to a highly entertaining book or series. The author has taken readers on a wild ride and created such rich, multi-dimensional characters. I’m envisioning this final book will be as gloriously fantastical and dangerous as its predecessors.

What was or will be your first read of the month?


As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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