Top 5: Christmas Themed Books I’d Love to Read

I need to get my hands on some Christmas themed novels. The only book I’ve ever read even remotely related to Christmas is “A Northern Light” by Jennifer Donnelly. It looks like it would be a Christmas Novel, but it isn’t. However, I loved every moment of reading it!

Now on to the books I’d love to read!

In no particular order:

Decked With Holly by Marni Bates

This one is endorsed by Julie Kagawa, one of my favorite authors ever, so it’s a no brained that I would want to read this one!

My True Love Gave To Me by Various Authors

So many great short stories by so many incredible authors! I’d love to read them!

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

I didn’t realize this was a Christmas book. I wanted to pick this one up anyway, but now I love the idea of it all the more!

‘Let It Snow: Three Holiday Romances’ by John Green, Maureen Johnson, & Lauren Myracle

You gotta have John Green in here. You just gotta.

‘Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe’ by Melissa de la Cruz

This is both a cover love thing and the fact that it’s Pride and Prejudice although I still haven’t read it yet. It looks adorable!

Well that’s all! I hope you enjoyed this list!

THANK YOU ALL FOR READING! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season and that you all receive all that you hope for. 

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Watching: The Christmas Calendar

I just got done watching probably one of the cutest and most romantic Christmas movies I’ve watched. It has everything I love about a good romantic Christmas movie magic, curiosity, adorable moments, and absolute wonder. Christmas is the most magical time of the year. Falling in love during that time sounds like another kind of magic.

Emily receives a Christmas Calendar with little notes from a secret admirer. The whole town gets involved as each day the mystery unravels itself and everyone is wondering who is the guy? Overall, the concept is adorable. Who wouldn’t want to be wooed in such a creative and romantic way.

All the while a new baker comes to town and enters competition with Emily and sparks start to fly. It awoke the part of me that deeply desires to love and be loved. When the two were baking together and having a great time I wondered what I’d be like to have that one day with the person I spend my life with. I’m barely decent at baking so It’d be messier and more about figuring it out together, but I love that idea more.

Watching this I just felt that something in me light up that loves to love and deeply wants to spend my life having fun and learning and growing together with someone I love and who feels every ounce of that love for me as well. Something gentle and soft and kind. Something peaceful. Something I’ve tasted before and fell way too short.

Love is at the beating heart of what Christmas is to me. Love for your family. For your neighbors. Love for the people you work with. Love for those you like and those you don’t. And yes romantic love too.

This romantic little story does what every good Christmas film should, it inspires hope. It gives you all the warm and fuzzy feelings about what could and will be. One day, it’s fun to think about, what a Christmas would look like beside the guy that holds my heart. So I hold hope in my heart for that one day and all the one days that will come after.

What I also loved about the film was the mischievous actions from some of the characters that added a little spice and hilarity to the film. Some people live to cause chaos and having those chinks in the film was a lot of fun.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Checkout The Book Raven Poetry Instagramand Twitter

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Till next time!

Watching: Carnival Row

Carnival Row is one of the most beautiful and stunning new tv series I have seen in recent years.

This show is part historical, part romance, part fantasy, and part mystery in the best of ways. The setting makes for a darkly beautiful landscape where daily evils both familiar and unfamiliar in our time lurks in the shadows.

The Dark Asher is the main creature our handsome detective Philo is after, but there is a mastermind behind it all pulling the strings.

All the while the plot has two main stories going on, the one that is Philo’s and Vinette’s and the one that is between Imogen and the Puck Agregus. What I loved about the story that unfolded between Imogen and Agregus is the political tension and the very real racism that underlies it all. It’s not hidden by any means and it shows the mind that the upper class has in this film and how it wishes to ‘other’ all who do not share their look. Agregus is a rich puck. He purchases an expensive home and lives in finery. Imogen goes to him after learning her brother has done poorly with finances and she makes a deal with him to bring him into the fold of society in exchange for his financial help. I loved seeing the two realize they weren’t so different and their friendship quickly develop into something more. Especially after how much I began to hate Imogen in the beginning. Seeing her come into her own I started to see her in a new light.

Vinette and Philo’s story starts during war. A time where they came together and fell in love only to have Philo fake his death so that Vinette would not go back for him and potentially lose her life. When they see each other again years later their feelings remain, but Vinette is rightfully pissed at Philo for the choice that made her think she had lost him forever. Eventually, they end up working together as they realize the Dark Asher has a agenda that may have to do with them more then they previously thought.

All in all, what I loved about this show was how it mirrors politics today. The backstories to each character including Vinette being bi-sexual and having that being shown as simply part of her character was really cool. The majority of the show is actually very much politically based with characters making moves for power and the way certain people are accepted while others are not. It discusses immigration and what is done to protect certain identities. Carnival Row is rich and beautiful and at times dark and horrifying. It is everything I love in a good tv show.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 139

Wicked Saints: A Review

Wicked Saints (Book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 5/10 a standard book cover. I like the darkness of it. It just doesn’t give me a wow factor. I do like that the kingdom is in the cover though. That’s pretty cool.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: April 2nd, 2019

Number of Pages: 385

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: An instant New York Times bestseller! 

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves and The Star-Touched Queen

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holytrilogy.

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

Opening Sentence: Death, magic, and winter. A bitter cycle that Marzenya spins with crimson threads around pale fingers. She is constant; she is unrelenting; she is eternal. She can grant any spell to those she has blessed, her reach is the fabric of magic itself.—Codex of the Divine, 2:18

The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars.”

Musings:

This book reminds me of why I love fantasy. A whole world in your fingertips that can be as dark and magical as you dream it to be. Emily writes such a tale. Something where everyone has their own agenda and manipulation and truth within lies makes world views shatter and the fate of whole kingdoms lying in the balance of all of it.

What I Loved:

The writing. There were some chapters of this book where the writing was positively addicting. The reason I say some is only because certain chapters were written like dreams and the elegance of those chapters shown, while others served the purpose of showing action and furthering the plot and that isn’t a bad thing. It made the book very well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable.

Falling for the wrong guy. It’s nice to see a story that shows someone making a mistake about the person they fall for. It happens to all of us and in this story it had some dubious consequences. Although I loved the attraction between Nadya and Malachiasz. I think I have a thing for male characters with M names “cough Morpheus cough Mephistopheles cough” with a penchant for magic and very charismatic personalities. It’s a sad that Malachiasz would probably kill me before showing me any sort of interest.

The unwinding of truth and lies. Nadya has lived her life incredibly sheltered. She lives to serve the Gods and has practiced a perfection of being and devotion that is tested and bent completely as the book unfolds. She uncovers lie after lie. Something about the way everything is revealed to her was sort of grossly beautiful to me. Because it makes me think what sort of incredible fury she will unleash in the next book. I want to see this girl rise and I have a feeling she will and I can’t wait to see it happen.

The magic itself. There isn’t really much limitation to how the magic in this world manifests. It does have limits from person to person, but in general there is a lot of variety to the spells that are very personal to who is casting. This makes for some beautiful scenes where the magic manifests in very unique ways that I really enjoyed.

All in all:

This book is a great one! The way things enfolded has me very excited about what is to come and what adventures await Nadya in the future! I love a book with intensity and Wicked Saints had that aplenty.

About the Author:

emily / XXVI / 
—NYT & Indie bestselling author of WICKED SAINTS and RUTHLESS GODS from Wednesday Books/Macmillan 

— purchase Wicked Saints here! 

—preorder Ruthless Gods here! 

— YA fantasy writer rep’d by Thao Le of SDLA 
evil!boyfriends / villains / metal music / Goth Life /

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 918

Escaping from Houdini: A Review

Escaping From Houdini (book 3) By Kerri Maniscalco

My Rating: 5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 6/10 the only reason for this is because this kind of cover wouldn’t typically attract my attention. The dress is pretty, but I typically enjoy a more illustrated style for covers. But, it does fit with the other two in the series, so I understand why it was designed this way.

Publisher: JIMMY Patterson

Publish Date: September 18th, 2018

Number of Pages: 416

Received: My mom got it for me at Barnes & Noble!!!

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: A New York Times Bestseller! 
Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell find themselves aboard a luxurious ocean liner that becomes a floating prison of horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer. 

The #1 bestselling series that started with Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula continues its streak in this third bloody installment…. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly. 

But privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow more and more bizarre. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation before more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

Opening Sentence: “New Year’s afternoon aboard the Etruria began like a fairytale, which was the first indication a nightmare lurked on the horizon, waiting, as most villains do, for an opportunity to strike.”

Musings:

I LOVED THIS BOOK!! I knew I was going to, but Kerri outdid herself with this one. The writing was beautiful. Filled with gorgeous and grotesque imagery. My Thomas Cresswell was perfect as always. Audrey was the same incredible heroine as always. Yet they added Mephistopheles a charming illusionist that even I was falling for.

What I Loved:

Everything about the beginning. The way Kerri wrote the first few chapters was stunning. I felt myself watching the moonlight carnival and being as enchanted and appalled as the passengers were.

Growing tension in Thomas’s and Audrey’s relationship. I love Thomas and Audrey together. The way that they love each other is beautiful. It made me miss the one I had felt that way for. It made me want to hope that i could fully feel that way again. These two would do anything for each other. Plus, the amount of space and freedom Thomas gives is beautiful. Because that’s what love should be. Something blissful and not a cage.

Mephistopheles! I adore this man. Even though I don’t think I’d ever give my heart to someone like this, he has this magic that you can’t help, but be drawn to. The way he sees the world and forms illusions based in science is incredible. I’m not surprised that Audrey was entranced by him as well.

The fact that I couldn’t tell who the killer was. There were several suspects, but really I wasn’t sure who the killer was. I’m not going to say much more because it would spoil it, but there were several people who it could have been and it had me guessing the entire time.

The setting! I loved that it was all set on a ship. A carnival on a cruise where everyone is trapped is an amazing set up. It also made for beautiful imagery which I very much appreciated.

All in all:

I don’t want to say much more other then this was an amazing read. This is a book three so I really don’t like the idea of spoiling anything. This series is one of my favorites so I’m very much excited for book 4!

About the Author:

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the forthcoming Kingdom of the Wicked.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 0

The Beholder: A Review

The Beholder by Anna Bright

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

 

Cover Rating: 9/10: This cover is absolutely gorgeous! The boat is stunning and it gives the story it’s fantasy/romantic vibes in one beautiful piece of imagery. I love the copper and grey wash coloring of it. It’s beautifully done.

 

Publisher: HarperTeen

 

Publish Date: June 4th, 2019

 

Number of Pages: 435

 

Received: Random book mail from the publisher!!

 

Purchase: Amazon

 

Synopsis:

“Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic to visit a series of potential suitors—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From the gardens of England to the fjords of Norge, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Lush landscapes, dazzling romance, and captivating intrigue await in this stunning alternate historical YA debut—perfect for fans of The Selection or Caraval.”

 

Opening Sentence: Once upon a time always began on nights like tonight.”

 

A Note Before my Review: I just want to say, the authors note before the start of this book is the sweetest thing ever. Anna Bright talks about why she became an author and what brought her to write “The Beholder” and it made me fall in love with her in an instant. I will read anything she writes because of it. (Also, because I loved “The Beholder” so much). One day I hope to meet this author in person because I just feel like she’s one of those authors that would be a genuine delight to meet.

 

Musings:

“The Beholder” completely surprised me. I expected it to go a certain way and it went in an entirely new direction and for that, I am so happy to have read this book. It was well written, engaging, and romantic. I need to know what’s up next in Selah’s world, but I know that will have to wait till Anna continues her story. I’m excited about it all the same!

What I Loved:

Selah is totally herself. This is a character who is herself at all times and doesn’t change for no one. She’s comfortable doing hard work and gardening. She’s bookish and values her time alone. She knows herself well and she stands up for her beliefs. She’s tough, but not in a physical way. I loved reading through her point of view.

Showcasing How fast falling in love can be. Her first love Peter was a slow burn (one we don’t see, but the had been friends for years). Nothing ever happened between them and he rejects her when she finally opens up and tells him how she feels. However, bachelor number 2 and 3 establish with her some real chemistry and things move quick with both. Sometimes you meet someone and even though time is short between you they change your life forever. There’s no rules to falling in love or what love should look like and as much as I love a slow burn, personally I have fallen in love with someone, at one point in my life, very quickly and it’s nice to have that feeling validated.

How all my expectations were subverted. I’m not going to talk about what happened with Bachelor #2 or #3 because discussing that ruins the book completely, but things went so much deeper then I expected. There was political stuff that surprised me. People had some ulterior motives that made my eyebrows raise. The ending was nothing like what I expected it to be. I have to know what happens next.. it’s too juicy.

Everything I want to talk about now is a spoiler. I just want to dive in and dish the details, but I’m not ruining this novel for no one. This book is barely fresh off the press and I’m dying to talk to someone about what happens, but I can’t.. this is going to be another instance of me having a bunch of strong opinions on little things (like I do with the splintered series) and I just want to talk about it left and right, but I won’t because I’m exercising some very minute self-control.

All in all:

This book is fantastic. It’s not what it seems. There’s some juicy drama. Great family dynamics. Interesting and unique ways of being in different places. This book is lush detailed and worth the read!

About the Author:

“I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.”

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

In Another Life: A Review

In Another Life by C.C. Hunter

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Cover Rating: 3/10 stars, I’m not really feeling this cover. I think the only thing that would attract me to it is the color. It doesn’t feel like it’s truly connected with the story in any real way other then to say things get a bit fractured in the novel. I wish they had gone in a different direction.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: March 26th, 2019

Number of Pages: 352

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“What would you do if your whole life was a lie and learning the truth could cost you your life?

From New York Times bestselling author of the Shadow Falls series comes C. C. Hunter’s new YA thriller about a girl who learns that she may have been kidnapped as a child, and must race to uncover the truth about her past before she winds up a victim.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?”

Opening Sentence: ““What are you doing?” I ask when Dad pulls over at a convenience store only a mile from where Mom and I are now living.”

Musings:

Reading this book brought up a lot of emotions in me. It was a story way more intense then my own, but I was taken by the similarities in feeling. Chole was happy with her situation for most of her life. Living with the family that loved her and gave her all that she could have ever wanted, but her parents divorce changed everything. Then, Cash comes into her life and her world is flipped inside out and upside down. When he presents the idea that she was the kidnapped child of his foster parents and slowly reveals to her his own checkered past she is thrown into a state where she doesn’t know what to believe.

What I Enjoyed:

The action. It’s slow building to this point, but it has many tense thriller moments. I really enjoyed the way the events added up and built suspense as the story went on.

How suspicious Cash always was. Cash had constant suspicions to the 10th degree. Sometimes, I had no idea where they were coming from. But, I enjoyed how he began to trust Chole slowly as time went on.

Watching the two come together. I liked the relationship between them. It was complicated yes. It brought up a lot of baggage in them both, but what mattered was the love that was there and they decided to be there for each other and accept each other as they were.

That Chole had a good relationship with her parents. Yes at times due to divorce that the relationships were strained. However, at the end of the day the love was there. It was nice to read an adoption story where the parents weren’t abusive.

All and All:

In Another Life is a unique read with curious situations and some really great writing. You’ll keep guessing what the real truth is till the very end.

About the Author:

C. C. Hunter is the American author of the Shadow Falls young adult novels. C.C. Hunter is a pen name. Under her real name, Christie Craig, she also writes romantic suspense novels. Born in Alabama, she now lives in Texas.

Thanks for reading! I meant to write and post this review ages ago. I procrastinated on this one a ton and I no longer remember why, but better late then never! As always, let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

A Life Imagined

One day we’ll stand face to face at the alter

All our dreams melded into one glorious day

We’ll spend our nights dreaming of the home we’d build together

Smiling about the sweet music we’d made during the day

We’d laugh and dance through life together

Saying a thousand words with just one look

I can’t wait for the day you put your hand in mine

I can’t wait for the day I laugh with you

I can’t wait for the day I’d whisper in your ear and see you smile with the knowing that every single day I’d take pleasure in choosing you

Tell then, I have mountains to climb, and oceans to cross

Stars to build across my soul

But every lesson, every tick of the clock, brings me closer to the day I finally get to hold you

So for now find peace and be happy

Do what’s right for you

I’ll be working hard and dancing on my own

Till the time comes for me to create a whole new world when I’m with you

One day we’ll stand face to face at the alter

Surrounded by all of those we love

There will be peace and joy and happiness

A new beginning creating one from the two of us

I know it’ll be years before we get there

But oh how sweet it is to dream

Will you dream along with me?

Thanks for reading! I don’t know why, but at the moment I’m feeling really optimistic about the future. Imagining scenarios for what could be has brought me no small measure of peace. One of my greatest desires for my life has been to be with someone I can share my time on this earth with. I don’t know the when or how of it, but I know one day this all will come to be and that’s something to feel good about.

-Till next time!

My Boo: A Webtoon to Cry About

Something I adore reading are webtoons. For those of you who are new to them they are web comics created by independent artists to read completely for free. One of my absolute favorites that is actually completed is ‘My Boo’.

It’s fairly short in the scheme of how webtoons typically go. However if by the end you don’t find yourself in tears I’m sorry to say, but you might actually be a robot. I have nothing against robots they are pretty cool. I imagine most of them don’t have tear ducts. I’m sure even a robot would feel the affect of this webtoon.

The writing and the art together are GORGEOUS! It’s a beautiful webtoon. This is a story that made me think about love differently. To think about how I would feel if I only had the shortest amount of time with my loved one. Or how temporary life is. I can’t expect for sure that nothing will ever happen to me or to him. So, the person I love most in the world, I’m hellbent on giving my all to him.

Wow.. I didn’t expect it, but I have tears. I guess the thought of something happening was a bit much for me. It’s a bit hard to think about. But that is the reality of this webtoon. In My Boo these two beautiful souls love each other and have some of the best times, but Yuri and her beloved could never touch. They fell for each other and they would never touch. Not for one singular moment.

They laugh together. They can pretend at touching, but they cannot ever actually touch. If that’s not a powerful version of a long-distance relationship that technically is very much not long-distance I don’t know what is. The best part is the build up to them falling for each other. The writing is absolutely fantastic. Yuri’s past makes her pretend she doesn’t even see her ghost roommate. Even when he was being annoying as hell.

It’s such a simple story, but calling it simple feels wrong. I felt every word of it deeply. From, how Yuri made her decisions about accepting him in her life. To the actual relationship. To the very end. Reading this is like having a hand hold your heart and having it give a painful squeeze, but you hope, you hope for them to touch. For them to be able to have each other, but to the very end you start to loose hope and it’s a tragedy.

It’s one of those stories that makes you think about life and life decisions, but instead of it making me feel like letting go.. it makes me want to hold on. To love the person I love and damn the consequences. Because, why should two people who love each other have to let each other go? Love is the most beautiful emotion you could feel for someone. If you have it and it’s right and it’s good then why should you have to let go of it?

In this story there are reasons. In this story things get hard. In this story I became a mess. My Boo is beautiful. It’s tragic. It’s painful. But it is also full of a beautiful love. I hope everyone takes the time to read it. It’s a story I will never forget.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Featuring October’s Ya Releases

I need to preface this by saying.. this is and isn’t an anticipated reads post. Last month I didn’t have the time to come up with an Anticipated reads post like I usually come up with one. Things have been crazy, and maybe I admit to a little indulgence when it comes to sleep. When I say this I mean sometimes past 8 hours. It actually has a tendency to make me more tired instead of less or just as tired if I have less sleep. Anyway, I didn’t get it done, but I did make a list of the books I wanted to read. Sadly, I don’t have time to talk about them. For that I apologize.

Here they all are, enjoy all the gorgeous covers! There are quite a few this month!

Looking at all these books, all 49 of them, I can’t help but feel guilty. I have so much to say about them. Just no time to say it. I have to move on to next months releases. It’s been hard recently and I’ve been re-configuring how to be productive to the best of my abilities. It isn’t really an excuse. I don’t know how many of you look forward to these posts, but they mean a lot to me. Anyway I promise I’ll have a November post up. I’ll do my best to keep up with these as well as I can.

Thanks for reading! What book are you looking forward to most this month? Which cover above caught your eye?

-Till next time!