T5W: Favorite Side Character Ships!

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

June 14th: Side Ships
— Tell us your favorite relationships that don’t involve the protagonist!

 

**Warning: Some strong language ahead in this post, if anyone’s bothered by that.**

Honestly, I’m not much of a shipper, and when I do ship, it’s usually a canon ship for main characters. (Also, I’m kind of cheating with one, and seriously cheating with another of these, but the serious cheat is the ship I’ll go down with, damn it!)

But, these are a few I came up with, in no particular order…

(All the covers link to the goodreads page for the book)

256683Magnus Bane & Alec Lightwood (from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare)

These two, ugh. They were why I mostly finished the series (I couldn’t actually make it through City of Holy Fuck This is Long Heavenly Fire, and I literally just skimmed it to get the basics because I was so done with that series), and I love them. They are my precious book children and I want them to be happy.

 

3Dean Thomas & Seamus Finnigan (from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)

Ok, this is one of the only non-canon ships I’ve ever had, but I’m still including it because a) I actually ship it, b) it’s a side-characters-ship, and c) it’s such a popular ship it might as well be canon. Like, Devon Murray even tweeted about how Dean & Seamus could get married in Ireland a couple of years ago when gay marriage was legalized.

 

8490112Zuzana Nováková & Mikolas Vavra (from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor)

I haven’t read this in years, but I remember liking these two and wishing we’d seen more of them. (Also, I’ve only read the first two books, and I barely remember anything from the first book now :/ )

 

 

41865Jasper Hale & Alice Cullen (from The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer)

I can not believe I have a ship from those god awful books, considering how much I hated them, but the thing is, all the side characters were so much more interesting than Boring Bella and Exasperating Edward. (I’m sorry, Twilight fans, but the books were not for me, and while I hated the books, I don’t have any bad feelings about the people who did enjoy them.)

 

And now, my big cheat for this week…

 

22055262Holland Vosjik & HAPPINESS, DAMN IT (from the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab)

Do I need to say more about this one?

 

 


What are some of your favorite side ships?

 

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Poetry Tuesday: June 13th (Plus a special guest haiku :p )

I’m still not sure if I’m going to make Poetry Tuesdays a regular thing. Probably not, but I’m feeling up for posting today. (And I still haven’t gotten around to making a better featured image. It’s somewhere on my to-do list.)

First up, my special guest: my husband. In the car a few days ago, husband and I were talking, and I have no idea how it happened, but he came up with this gem and (possibly sarcastically/jokingly?) suggested I use it for “Poetry Tuesday” this week. And so I am 🙂 (With permission.)

 

First, I saw the light
at the end of the tunnel.
Then I heard the horn.

 

And now my contribution for the week, though I don’t know how I can follow that. Maybe I should have posted mine first 😛

 

I spent last night
digging up graves,
just to make sure
the past
was really
dead
and gone
and couldn’t
reach me
anymore.

-I woke up with phalanges in my hair

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Why I count (pretty much) everything I read on Goodreads

I felt inspired to write this because I’ve seen a few discussions online recently about what people do and do not count, and I realized how much my own choices have changed over the last few years.

For the first few years I used Goodreads, I only added “real books” I read. Then, I considered “real books” to be novels, entire collections of poetry or short stories, novellas, plays, and that was it. If something had a low page count, I felt too guilty to add it. An example would be The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This story is, depending on your edition, pretty short. I think my two copies are both under 100 pages, which lands them in that hazy place where short stories and novellas meet. I think a novella is typically considered a short novel of 30,000 words, but maybe less than 50,000 words, and short stories are typically anything under about 30,000 words. I could be wrong about that, and maybe there are different classifications depending on where you look for the information.

I didn’t read many comics or graphic novels back then, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t add any I did read. I also didn’t add any long short stories, and I was too ashamed to admit I read erotica, so I didn’t include those for a long time, even the full-length novels. (This was before it was a popular genre that it seemed like everyone was reading without always being judged for reading.)

While I do focus a bit on the number of books I read in a year, my primary goal is to increase the number of pages I read. I don’t know why, it just is. So, eventually, I grew tired of A) not being able to remember what I’d already read, and B) missing out on hundreds–if not thousands–of pages counted each year because I wasn’t including everything I read on Goodreads.

Maybe someone will look at my Goodreads shelves and scoff because I’ve included a single issue of a comic, or a short story, but it works for me to do things that way. The big turning point for me was when I realized that I don’t always like to read an entire collection of short stories in one go, and I don’t want a single volume sitting on my “currently reading” shelf for a decade while I read a piece every few months. (Things like the Grimm brothers fairy tales, or Poe’s complete works, or Bradbury’s complete short stories fall into that category for me.) I was also sick of my yearly page count not being a true reflection of the number of pages I’d read. This was particularly frustrating when I was also reading a lot of fanfic, so not only was I missing out on counting those (which could be quite long), I was also denying myself the inclusion of things that were on Goodreads, if only I would add them.

So, I decided to stop caring what anyone else thought about what I added to my shelves. It is, after all, my account, to use in whatever way works best for me. I joined Goodreads to keep track of every possible thing I read, and I became a Goodreads Librarian to help add things that weren’t already on there (which seemed a particular problem with self-published books for a while, and I read a lot of those back then). So what if someone else laughs because I added “The Raven” as something I’ve read? I read it, so on the “read” shelf it goes.

The point of me writing this is mostly just to say this: If you use Goodreads, and you feel weird about adding shorter things, think about why. Is it because you really don’t care about adding it, or because you’re worried about what someone else will think? Remember that your Goodreads (or whatever book/reading tracking thing you use, if you use something else) is there for you, and it’s up to you how you use it. If you don’t like adding short works, that’s totally fine. But don’t shy away from it because you think someone else will think it’s weird or silly.

I still don’t actually count every single thing I read, but I count almost everything. I prefer doing it this way because it helps me remember what I’ve read and what I thought of it, as well as giving me a more accurate picture of how many pages I read in a year.

As far as the yearly Goodreads challenge is concerned, no matter what my goal is, I still don’t consider it finished until I’ve read that many longer pieces. For example, if my goal was to read 10 books, and I finished it in January by reading 5 novels, 3 collections of poetry, 1 comic, and 1 short story, I wouldn’t actually consider it “complete” by my standards until I’d read 2 more longer things, whether they were novels, novellas, plays, poetry collections, etc.

I’m not going to try to tell anyone how they should use Goodreads, or that they should change what they’re doing. If it’s working for you, and you’re happy with it, that’s all that matters. I just wanted to share this because I think that maybe, if I’d known other people who did add everything a few years ago, I would have started doing it much sooner, and possibly not had as much senseless guilt for so long.


How do you use Goodreads?

Do you also add everything you read, regardless of length/genre/etc., or are you more selective?

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Must Read Mondays: June 12th

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.

 

The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

When I read it: May 2011

Genres: It has them, but I’m not sure what they are :/ Let’s go with: humor, horror

Recommended for: Anyone who likes zombies, or anyone who wants to prep for any potential apocalyptic event.

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 


What it’s about:

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller, World War ZThe Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain.

Top 10 Lessons for Surviving a Zombie Attack

1. Organize before they rise!
2. They feel no fear, why should you?
3. Use your head: cut off theirs.
4. Blades don’t need reloading.
5. Ideal protection = tight clothes, short hair.
6. Get up the staircase, then destroy it.
7. Get out of the car, get onto the bike.
8. Keep moving, keep low, keep quiet, keep alert!
9. No place is safe, only safer.
10. The zombie may be gone, but the threat lives on.

Don’t be carefree and foolish with your most precious asset—life. This book is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now without your even knowing it. The Zombie Survival Guide offers complete protection through trusted, proven tips for safeguarding yourself and your loved ones against the living dead. It is a book that can save your life.


 

Alright, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I don’t remember this very clearly. It’s been over 6 years since I read it, so the details are pretty fuzzy now, but I do remember reading it very quickly and loving it. I actually gave this 5/5 stars back then. This might not be for everyone, but if you like zombies, fiction that’s written like non-fiction, or books about preppers, you might like this.

 


Have you read it? What did you think?

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May Wrap Up + Book Haul

may wrap up

 

May was a surprisingly good reading month for me, but I’ve fallen behind on reviewing things. I read 15 books, but most of those were short (poetry collections). However, I did, finally, make it through East of Eden, which I started waaaay back for Tome Topple.

 


Books read:

(All covers link to goodreads)

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I Am More Than a Daydream by Jennae Cecelia– A collection of poetry I gave 4.5/5 stars.

 

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Burntown by Jennifer McMahon– I had an ARC of this, and reviewed it. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

 

33833094

 

Tell Me Where it Hurts by J.R. Rogue– A very emotional, raw poetry book. I gave it 5/5 stars.

 

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Poems I Found in My Closet by Evette Blue– More poetry. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.

 

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Growth by Karin Cox– Poetry. I gave it 2.5/5 stars.

 

 

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the three o’clock in the morning sessions by Angie Martin– Yep, more poetry. I gave this one 3/5 stars.

 

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams– This was a re-read, and I gave it 4/5 stars again. I love this series, but for some reason I don’t “5/5 stars” love the first couple of books in the “trilogy in 5 parts.”

 

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Mad Woman by Kat Savage– Poetry again (are you seeing the pattern yet? :P), which I gave 5/5 stars and it landed Kat Savage on my list of favorite poets. I reviewed it, too.

 

34335011

 

love, and you by Gretchen Gomez– Yep, another lovely book of poetry. I gave it 5/5 stars and can’t wait to see what else Gretchen writes. Reviewed here.

 

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams– The second Hitchhiker’s Guide book, which was also a re-read and got 4.5/5 stars.

 

30319086

 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio– AKA “The Book I WILL NOT SHUT UP ABOUT” because I freaking loved it and am now obsessed. 5/5 stars, reviewed here.

 

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East of Eden by John Steinbeck– The tome I did not topple during the read a thon, but finally finished. I gave it 4/5 stars and it also counted for #RockMyTBR, yay!

 

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Good Bones and Simple Murders by Margaret Atwood– Short stories, which I will possibly be reviewing eventually. I gave it 5/5 stars.

 

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Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff– This was on my TBR before it released, and I really enjoyed it. I reviewed it, and gave it 4/5 stars.

 

34114202

 

Throes by Kat Savage– The last book, and another collection of poetry. I also gave this one 5/5 stars.

 

 


Book Haul!

Full disclosure: Not all of these are mine (my book obsession might be contagious, so husband might have caught it), but I’m including the ones that aren’t exactly/exclusively mine anyway because I know I’ll be reading them.

DSC_0300.JPG

From left to right: Hamlet (this edition ❤ ); The Girl on the Road; NW; The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden; Welcome to Night Vale; The Divine Comedy; Furiously Happy; Fates and Furies; The Beautiful and Damned; This Side of Paradise; Perfume: The Story of a Murderer; love, & you; Simulacra; La Douleur Exquise; Mad Woman; Redamancy; Throes; Good Bones and Simple Murders; and the boxed set of Time Lord Fairy Tales.

I’m not including my Kindle books because this post would take about 5 days to assemble if I did that :/ (I might have purchased, like, 20 Agatha Christie ebooks…and a bunch of others…because for some reason May was the month of book sales…)

Last month was ridiculous, and I never buy this many books. Like, there have been spans of two years when I haven’t bought this many books. But seriously, the sales. It was unbelievable. I got so many books for less than $2, and, like I said, they’re not all technically mine.

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First Lines Fridays: June 9th

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


I remember being born.

In fact, I remember a time before that. There was no light, but there was music: joints creaking, blood rushing, the heart’s staccato lullaby, a rich symphony of indigestion. Sound enfolded me. I was safe. 


 

 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

16054806What it’s about:

In the kingdom of Goredd, dragons and humans live and work side by side – while below the surface, tensions and hostility simmer.

The newest member of the royal court, a uniquely gifted musician named Seraphina, holds a deep secret of her own. One that she guards with all of her being.

When a member of the royal family is brutally murdered, Seraphina is drawn into the investigation alongside the dangerously perceptive—and dashing—Prince Lucien. But as the two uncover a sinister plot to destroy the wavering peace of the kingdom, Seraphina’s struggle to protect her secret becomes increasingly difficult… while its discovery could mean her very life.

(Cover links to goodreads)

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


This book has been on my TBR so long I can’t even remember where I heard about it first. I’m guessing either booktube or booklr, but I’m really not sure. Anyway, the gorgeous cover and dragons caught my attention right away, and I’m hoping to maybe read it soon(ish).


Have you read it? What did you think of it?

 

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T5W: Book Recs for Ravenclaws

top-5-wednesday

T5W is a weekly meme created by Lainey from gingerreadslainey, now hosted by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. You can check out the goodreads group to learn more.

 

June 7th: Books For Your Hogwarts House
— Show your Hogwarts House Pride, and tell us the top 5 books that represent your house!

 

First things first: my Hogwarts house. I think I could be happy in Hufflepuff, but I’m definitely a Ravenclaw. I’m always sorted into Ravenclaw and I think I would be most comfortable there.

Ravenclaw_crest

ravenclaw crest

 

In no particular order…


17735849

cover; links to goodreads

 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I just think it would appeal to Ravenclaws, especially the ones like Luna.

 

 

 

 

13

cover; links to goodreads

 

 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Yes, I will find a way to incorporate this into almost every T5W.

 

 

 

 

21469108

cover; links to goodreads

 

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

Four stories, no reading order, and the whole thing is kind of a puzzle. This was the first book I thought of when I thought “Ravenclaw books.”

 

 

 

 

30319086

cover; links to goodreads

 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

I think Ravenclaws might enjoy a mystery involving theater kids, the Bard, and twists you won’t see coming.

 

 

 

 

 

25526296

cover; links to goodreads

 

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

For the Ravenclaws like me who wonder about what happens to kids who visit other worlds, then end up back here.

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Book Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

24612118

cover; links to goodreads


Genres:
literary fiction; contemporary

Why I read it: I read a sample in Buzz Books back in 2015 (the publication year) and absolutely fell in love with Groff’s writing style. I’ve been itching to get a copy ever since and finally did.

Who I’d recommend it to: This is a tough thing because I know this novel will not appeal to everyone. If you like secrets and characters that aren’t always likable, maybe read a preview and see what you think of it.

 

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


What it’s about:

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.


Review:

I’m a sucker for a great cover, so I have to mention is. If I hadn’t come across this in that Buzz Books sampler, I would have pounced on this in a store because it’s a gorgeous cover, and the title is pretty great, too.

Before I dive into this, I’m going to go ahead and say that this will probably be a vague, short review. I’ve seen other reviews mention that you should probably go into this not knowing a lot about it, and I definitely agree with that. I went into it knowing pretty much nothing, and not even really remembering what I’d read those two years ago. I just remembered the writing was amazing and I had to read it, no matter what it was about.

This novel is divided into two sections: Fates is the first, and Furies is the second. The first section is more about Lotto, and Lotto & Mathilde as a couple, while Furies is more about Mathilde. The first section is a bit slower, but it does pick up in the second.

The writing style takes a little getting used to, I think, and even by the end of the book I felt like I couldn’t read it very quickly. Lauren Groff is a wonderful writer (I’m basing this assumption on only this book), and she uses a lot of very direct, non-flowery sentences, which are sometimes quite short. It’s almost choppy writing, but more like a razor than an axe. It’s precise and deeper than you might first expect.

Before reading this, I would suggest preparing yourself to not necessarily like the characters. I’m not sure I actually, truly, liked any of them, and I’m not upset by that at all. Usually I would be, but they were all written so well, so believably, I don’t mind that they weren’t wonderful people. They were life-like, and I appreciate that.

I don’t normally read a lot of contemporary fiction or literary fiction, but this book makes me want to consider changing that. It was compelling, at least by the second half, and I found myself not wanting to put it down. I had to know more and see how so many threads were woven together. I ended up staying up over 36 hours to finish it (I didn’t read that entire time, I just sacrificed sleep to finish).

Essentially, this book was a fascinating look behind the curtain of a marriage, and a reminder that no matter how well you know someone, no matter how much time you spend together, how much of your lives you share, you still don’t know everything about them. There’s much more, but I don’t want to elaborate because, as I said, I feel like this is a book you should begin knowing as little about it as possible.

Do I recommend it? Yes, but tentatively, because it really will not be for everyone. (On a side note, this was apparently President Obama’s favorite book from 2015, which I think is neat.)


Have you read Fates and Furies? What did you think of it?

 

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Must Read Mondays: June 5th

must-read-mondays

Must Read Monday is a weekly thing I do here to recommend books I’ve read and enjoyed. I might sometimes throw in something I gave 3 stars to, but for the most part they’re books I gave a 4-5 star rating to. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily amazing literature, but it does mean I liked them enough to recommend them to other people.

 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

30319086

cover; links to goodreads


When I read it:
May 2017

Genres: mystery; thriller; contemporary

Recommended for: People who love Shakespeare, theater, mysteries…Ok, seriously, I keep recommending this to everyone.

My review is here

 

 

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

 

 


What it’s about:

Enter the players. There were seven of us then, seven bright young things with wide precious futures ahead of us. Until that year, we saw no further than the books in front of our faces.

On the day Oliver Marks is released from jail, the man who put him there is waiting at the door. Detective Colborne wants to know the truth, and after ten years, Oliver is finally ready to tell it.

Ten years ago: Oliver is one of seven young Shakespearean actors at Dellecher Classical Conservatory, a place of keen ambition and fierce competition. In this secluded world of firelight and leather-bound books, Oliver and his friends play the same roles onstage and off: hero, villain, tyrant, temptress, ingénue, extra. But in their fourth and final year, the balance of power begins to shift, good-natured rivalries turn ugly, and on opening night real violence invades the students’ world of make believe. In the morning, the fourth-years find themselves facing their very own tragedy, and their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, each other, and themselves that they are innocent.

Part coming-of-age story, part confession, If We Were Villains explores the magical and dangerous boundary between art and life. In this tale of loyalty and betrayal, madness and ecstasy, the players must choose what roles to play before the curtain falls.


I can not, in words, express my feelings about this properly. It was just too good, and I think I talk about it every day. I actually listened to the audiobook (which isn’t usually my thing because I have a hard time focusing) because I won it in a goodreads giveaway, but it was still so amazing I wanted to immediately get a hardback copy and re-read it. This book has definitely made my list of favorites this year, and it’s currently competing with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic (well, the second and third books) to be my actual, top favorite. And V.E. Schwab is the first author I think of these days when I’m asked who my favorite author is, if that tells you anything.

I still can’t believe this is a debut because the writing was so good, and the characters so life-like, and the plot so freaking amazing. I think even if this hadn’t landed on my radar, I still would have picked it up because the cover would have immediately caught my attention. I’m actually planning to get a US hardback and the UK edition, because a) I need this book on my shelves because I will definitely be reading it again…and again, and b) the cover for both is amazing and I know if I only get one I’ll be lusting after the other forever. I mean, look at this UK cover

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cover; links to goodreads


Have you read it? What did you think?

 

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First Lines Fridays: June 2nd

first-lines-fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

The Rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first

Finally… reveal the book!

 


“’Going bra shopping at age fifty-two gives new meaning to the phrase fallen woman,’ I announced as I gazed at my reflection. 


 

Interested? Keep reading to find out which book this is from.

 

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Playing With Poison by Cindy Blackburn

16061422What it’s about:

Pool shark Jessie Hewitt usually knows where the balls will fall and how the game will end. But when a body lands on her couch, and the cute cop in her kitchen accuses her of murder, even Jessie isn’t sure what will happen next.

Playing With Poison is a cozy mystery with a lot of humor, a little romance, and far too much champagne.

 

 

(The cover links to goodreads)

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble


I’ve been cleaning up my goodreads TBR and Kindle, and I found this. I have no clue if the book is any good, but the first line made me snort my coffee up my nose, so I might try reading it at some point.

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