September Wrap Up + Book Haul

The last 8 days or so of September, I read like my life depended on absorbing as many books as possible. It was crazy. From the 22nd-30th, I read 9 books and 3 short stories, bringing my total things read in September to 4 short stories (for the Gothic September Poe read along) and 14 books.

It wasn’t exactly record-breaking, but I was impressed, especially since I’d been in a genre slump all year, and was falling into a general reading slump.

The Martian saved me, though. Something about the real/realistic science from it, coupled with the tone and pace, acted as a bridge between non-fiction and sci-fi for me. It was great, and I think I’m mostly out of my sci-fi/fantasy slump (as long as I don’t read too much of either close together).


I read…

september wrap up goodreads

Book, rating, link to reviews, and what Bookish Bingo square I used them for…

  • Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (3.5/5 stars)
  • “Berenice” by Edgar Allan Poe (4/5 stars)
  • Basic Witches by Jaya Saxena & Jess Zimmerman (4/5 stars, but I’m considering lowering it to 3.5/5) // My review //Co-Authored
  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (4.5/5 stars) // “Person on Cover”
  • Blue Horses by Mary Oliver (4/5 stars) //Poetry or Verse
  • Halloween Carnival vol. 1 edited by Brian James Freeman (3/5 stars) // My review // “Horror
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (5/5 stars)
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (3.5/5 stars) // My review // “LGBT
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (2/5 stars) // “First in a Series
  • Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis (4.5/5 stars) // My review // “Set at a School
  • “William Wilson” by Edgar Allan Poe (3/5 stars)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (3/5 stars) // “Illustrations
  • Lumberjanes vol. 1 by Noelle Stevens (3/5 stars)
  • Horoscopes for the Dead by Billy Collins (3.5/5 stars)
  • “The Imp of the Perverse” by Edgar Allan Poe (4/5 stars)
  • “A Descent Into the Maelstrom” by Edgar Allan Poe (4/5 stars)
  • The Cottingley Secret by Hazel Gaynor (3.5/5 stars) // My review //Magic in the Real World
  • Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp (5/5 stars)

For the autumn challenges below, here’s my first post about them which has links to the origins.


I finished the Poe read along, but I ended up reading 3/4 stories in the last week or so, instead of one per week. It was fun and I should definitely get back to reading Poe more regularly.


Fall Bookish Bingo

fall bookish bingo MARKED

I’m so close to a Bingo already, yay!


R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril didn’t work out so well for me in September, so I need to step it up for October to reach my goal of 4 books. The only one I read (and counted) for R.I.P. in September was The Graveyard Book, which was one of the books I listed as a possible choice in my original post.


Yearly challenges updates:

For #RockMyTBR, I read The Killing Joke, but The Graveyard Book or The Martian would have counted, too.

And, finally, I got to check off a couple of tasks for both the PopSugar reading challenge, and the Book Riot Read Harder challenge. (I’ll post both lists at the end of the year, because I might swap some things around between now and then.)


Book Haul!

september haul

Left to right: 5 Goosebumps books! In a tin! (That I didn’t want to take the plastic off of yet, which I now realize was a mistake because the picture is garbage, ugh.) // Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay // Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly // The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan // Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao (ARC) // Fever by Deon Meyer (ARC) // Doctor Who: City of Death by James Goss (ok, this one is technically husband’s, but I’m going to read it, to) // Caraval by Stephanie Garber // The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.


Both of my grown-up cats were very interested in what I was doing. At least I managed to get one shot that didn’t have my other cat’s butt blocking 3/4 of the frame. Of course, I got this one shot because she decided to try to sit on my head while I was on my stomach on the ground taking the photo:/ 


How was your September, and what was your favorite read last month?

Are you participating in any autumn (or all-year) reading challenges?

Is there anything from my haul that you think I should read ASAP?

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(Ridiculously Late) June Wrap Up + Book Haul

Well, at least I did this before the month was officially half over? :/ Onward!

So June wasn’t really a great reading month for me, but that’s ok because I made up for it by buying a ton of new books…That makes sense, right? Terrifying TBR + slow reading month = buy more books! (I might have failed a math class once…)

Anyway, in June, I managed to finally get through some things I’m ashamed for having not read yet, found a new couple of favorites, and crossed an item or two off my PopSugar 2017 Reading Challenge, and completed my goal for #RockMyTBR. So, all things considered, it wasn’t a bad month. Plus, shiny new books!


I read:

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (reviewed here) and I gave it 3.75/5 stars (rounded up to 4/5 stars).

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (reviewed here) and I gave it 5/5 stars.

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

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cover; links to goodreads 

The Haunted and The Hunted by Cassie Alexander (reviewed together here), and I gave The Haunted a tentative 2.75 stars (rounded up to 3/5) and The Hunted 2.5/5 stars (rounded down to 2/5)

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

La Douleur Exquise by J.R. Rogue which I gave 4/5 stars, and I highly recommend Rogue’s work in general!

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

 

Slammed by Colleen Hoover which I gave 2/5 stars. I wanted to like it, but it really wasn’t my thing at all, so sorry to any fans out there :/

 

 

 

 

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cover; links to goodreads

 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare which I gave 5/5 stars (but maybe 4.5/5? I’m not sure yet), and this is one I was ashamed that I hadn’t read yet. I love Shakespeare and I feel like this should have been required high school reading.

 

 

 

And, finally, I read

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cover; links to goodreads

 

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen for the first time. I think. I gave it 2/5 stars. I had a bunch of classic fairy tales when I was a kid, but I don’t remember if I had this one or not. If I did read it then, it didn’t leave an impression, and I’m still just not a fan. I think I’m more of a Grimm’s fan.

 

 


Book Haul!

june haul 02

From top to bottom: Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett; Hans Christian Andersen Tales (Word Cloud Classics edition because I love those and have a few others); The Girl in the Castle by Santa Montefiore; It’s All Fun and Games by Dave Barrett; Everything Must Go (ARC) by Jenny Fran Davis; Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour; Burial Rites by Hannah Kent; Blue Horses by Mary Oliver; Irish Folk and Fairy Tales by W.B. Yeats; Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel; The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell; If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio; The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon; The Complete Poetry of Maya Angelou

Husband picked out Equal Rites, mostly for me, because I didn’t get along well with The Color of Magic and, for a change, he wants to get me into a series. So, I read a page or so of Equal Rites, declared it to be more to my tastes, and here we are. He also found the W.B. Yeats book and thought I’d be interested (he knows me so well ❤ ).

I’m long overdue having some Andersen fairy tales, so I jumped at the chance to get this edition when I found it.

The Girl in the CastleIt’s All Fun and Games, and Everything Must Go were goodreads giveaway wins that arrived last month.

Everything Leads to YouBurial RitesBlue Horses, Station Eleven, The Bone Clocks, The Bone Season, and anything/everything Maya Angelou have all been on my wishlist and TBR for ages.

If We Were Villainshad to get because I won the audiobook a couple of months ago (review here) and became absolutely obsessed with it. I’ve been scouring B&N since then, but the closest to me doesn’t stock it. I actually–amazingly–found it at BAM, which blew my mind. Husband made me buy it because I’d finally found it (and had been talking non-stop about it for weeks by then). It’s definitely a contender for my favorite book read in 2017 and I highly recommend it!

Also, I think I should mention that while this looks like I spent an obscene amount of money, almost all of these (that I bought) were on sale. Like, under $5 kind of on sale. I felt like I’d died and gone to bibliophile heaven because I hadn’t even planned on going to the bookstore, but we did, and it was amazing. I really don’t usually buy as many books as I have this year, I’ve just come across great deals at opportune times. The only thing that bugs me a little is that a lot were on shelves outside, so they have a bit of dirt and slightly more wear than most of the inside books. But for the prices, I’m fine with that.


What was your June reading month like? See any books you loved (or hated!) on my lists?

 

Double Book Review: The Haunted/The Hunted by Cassie Alexander

 

 

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The Hunted; links to goodreads

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The Haunted; links to goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Genres: erotica; BDSM (sort of) erotica; paranormal

Why I read them: I was in the mood for something kind of mindless, and found these waaaay back in my Kindle (I think I actually won these like 2-3 years ago in the Erotica group on goodreads for some game or something I’d participated in). I remembered that The Haunted was ghost/human erotica and decided it sounded perfect for the mood I was in. For The Hunted, I just decided to go ahead and knock another really old book off my TBR. (Bonus points: both counted for my #RockMyTBR challenge!)

Who I’d recommend them to: Someone who isn’t all that picky about their erotica, and especially fans of paranormal erotica.

My rating (The Haunted): ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (Maybe 2.75 stars)
My rating (The Hunted): ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (2.5 stars)

The Haunted: Goodreads | Amazon        //        The Hunted: Goodreads | Amazon


What The Haunted is about:

The first in the Sleeping with Monsters series, about strong women and the monsters they love,The Haunted is a very hot modern take on gothic ghost stories.

Daphne Vance’s life is perfect — she’s a beautiful, devoted wife, and her husband has just bought her a vast countryside estate to start their family in.

But when her husband leaves on a business trip, it doesn’t feel like she’s alone in the mansion — she can feel eyes watching her, and hot hands trailing up her thighs. The domineering spirit of the mansion’s former owner is still present — and when she discovers her husband cheating on her, she doesn’t want to resist the Master anymore….


Review:

First of all, that line about Daphne’s life being perfect is a lie. (That’s not a huge spoiler because you realize how not-perfect her life is in the first page or two.) Her husband is gone all the time, and, honestly, he’s an ass. So what’s a lonely, young, new(ish) bride to do, all alone in her gigantic new manor, while her husband is away and not home putting a baby in her? Well, allow the resident ghost, known only as “Master,” to have his kinky way with her, of course!

Ok, all joking aside, I actually loved the idea of ghost/human sexy times. I haven’t read any PNR with that concept before, so it was a new and fun twist for me to read about. And, I’ll be honest, it got pretty dang hot a couple of times.

But, despite the amusing/interesting premise of this book, I didn’t love it. Maybe because my copy is so old, it’s since been updated and edited, but my copy needed a bit of work. There were some errors, maybe some typos, and a lot of sentences that just didn’t make a lot of sense without reading them multiple times (and some that never made sense). I found misused words a few times, too.

On top of that, there were a bunch of things not explained, and this one thing near the end that was totally unnecessary and just came out of the blue. (I won’t say what that thing was here, but if you want to know, I’ll probably put it in the spoiler tag on my goodreads review.) This is erotica, and it’s short, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy with having gaping holes in the plot. I don’t really read erotica for the plot, but I want what I read to make at least some sense. If you’re going to have something like a ritual to do a thing, I want a bit more explanation than simply telling me that a ritual happened and it involved x, y, and z, without any indication of how the person who did the ritual found out about it in the first place, etc. Ugh.

I never cared much at all about any of the characters. I think I liked the…uh…Ok, I can not remember what the servant dude’s name or actual occupation was, so I’m just going to say he was a butler. (I’m not 100% sure that’s accurate, but close enough.) Anyway, I liked him alright, but everyone else I was sort of indifferent about or deeply despised. Except the one drunken guy who tried to rape someone. I hated him and wished he’d died painfully. (More on this in the goodreads review spoiler tags.) I am never a fan of books in which the wife or whatever is desperate for a baby, but continues to hang on to her deplorable husband until he impregnates her, then plans to leave him. And that was a big part of this story. And while I’m fine with spreading the love and and someone having multiple sexual partners, it got a little weird in this one (especially with the desire for a baby thrown in). Like, I was cool with her sexing it up with her husband and the ghost, but then the gardener? (And the thing from the end that I’ll talk about on goodreads.) Passss.

Aside from my complaints, which might not bother other people, I actually did kind of like this one. It was a fun, super quick read (the book is only about 175 pages, so I read it in a day), and I was curious enough to continue on with The Hunted. However, I would still hesitate to recommend it, because of my aforementioned issues with the plot and need for more edits.


What The Hunted is about:

The second in the Sleeping with Monsters series, about strong women and the monsters they love, The Hunted is a BDSM-themed werewolf thriller.

As a call girl, Samantha never hoped for a happily ever after until she met Vincent. It didn’t matter that he was a mobster, for seven years their life was perfect – then he was betrayed and brutally gunned down by other members of the family. Now she’s on the run for her life, and the only thing she has to remember Vincent by is a silver locket with the phone number of a stranger folded inside.

Max is a queer mountain man — and a werewolf. For seven years he’s been living off the grid in exile after his pack threatened his then-boyfriend Vincent’s life. But when Vincent’s dying wishes send the beautiful Samantha to him for protection from the family, he knows what he has to do – honor his dead alpha’s wishes and keep her safe, no matter what.

In her grief, Samantha’s willing to do anything to get revenge, which Max tries to talk her out of – until he realizes his old pack was complicit in Vincent’s death. Then he’s as eager as she is — but they only have each other against the pack.

Is she strong enough to mate with him? And if she is, is he strong enough to kill them all?


Review:

I’m going to go ahead and say that I liked this less than The Haunted, and I’m considering lowering my star rating to 2/5 instead of rounding the 2.5 up to 3 stars.

This one has a bunch of time jumps and perspective shifts that took me over half the book to get used to, and I didn’t like the way it was written. I’m not a huge fan of multi-POV, even when it’s only two, anyway, but this one was really frustrating because it literally just repeated exactly what I’d just read from the other person’s POV, with an additional sentence or two added of their reaction or whatever. I ended up skimming over those after a few of them because it was boring for me to re-read the same thing again.

I didn’t really care much at all about any of the characters in this one, either. I’ll also say that the premise for this one was more boring for me, because I’ve read some shifter erotica and PNR before, so the whole, “Ermahgerd, she’s my mate! Must mount and claim! No, wait, she’s human, ugh, what to do? What to do?!” thing isn’t new for me and I kind of dislike it. A lot. Even when the “mate” is totally on board.

This one also suffered from not explaining things that were very important to the plot, apparently, like the werewolf knot thing. What the hell was it? More descriptive terms, please. Draw me a verbal diagram because what I imagined was probably not the thing the author envisioned, and seemed not only painful but kind of gross.

I don’t even know what to say about the whole, “My long-term boyfriend whom I loved deeply just died, but that’s ok, I can totally mate with his ex two days later!” thing that was going on in this book. It’s like insta-love on a whole new level, but also with insta-sex.

Speaking of the sex… What went down in The Haunted was way hotter, in my opinion, than this one. I’m fine with people using sex like a drug to escape for a while, but it was kind of boring in this one.

And I didn’t really like the “wolf thoughts” in this book. I’ve read some other shifter/were erotica and PNR that let us into the mind of the wolf side of the character, but this one creeped me out and had me rolling my eyes a lot. Not a fan.

 

Ok, I’ve decided that I am going to lower my rating for this one to 2/5 stars. The more I think about it, the less I liked it. I wouldn’t recommend this one. It just had too much going on, needed more editing, and kind of bored me.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

(A very tardy) February Wrap-Up

wrap up

February wasn’t a fantastic reading month for me in numbers, but it was still pretty great because I think I finally broke the hold of the slump that I’d been in for a really long time. It was also a good month because I loved–or at least liked–each book I read.


Saga by Brian K. Vaughan  has been on my TBR for ages, and I absolutely loved it. I gave it 5/5 stars and won’t shut up about it. I didn’t really review it, but it was my pick for last week’s Must Read Mondays post.

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston was an ARC I was lucky enough to get from goodreads, and you’ll be hearing more about it (again) soon. I did review this one, here, if you’re interested in knowing more about it and what I thought. I gave it 5/5 stars.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth was a re-read for me, and I actually listened to the audiobook. It had been a while since I’d read it, and I really wanted to finally finish the trilogy. I didn’t love it or hate it, but I thought it was good. It got 3.5/5 stars, but rounded down to 3 on goodreads, and I thought the audiobook was nice.feb wrap up

Allegiant by Veronica Roth is a book I have dreaded reading since it came out. Everyone was angry about it, and I wasn’t sure I would ever finish it. But I did, and I actually liked it. I know, I know, I’m in the minority with that opinion, but I really didn’t mind the ending. *shrugs* I gave it 3.5/5 stars, also, but rounded this one up to 4 on goodreads.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer was another book I won in a giveaway from goodreads, and I’m still figuring out how I feel about it. I did like it, but I’m not sure if I would have liked it more or less if I’d known more about Amy Schumer before I started it. I reviewed it here, if you want to know more. I gave it 4.5/5 stars (it’s so weird rating memoirs), but rounded down to 4 stars on goodreads.

And then there was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and I might have actually died a little a few times as I read it. I gave it 5/5 stars, and would gladly give it more if I could. If I can ever stop screaming about it (and Crooked Kingdom, which I’ve just finished), I’ll review it. But right now, I’m basically living like this: oxnxq


I did pretty well with meeting my #RockMyTBR Challenge goal (reading at least one book that’s been on my shelf/Kindle for a year or more) this month, because Saga and Allegiant have been sitting on my shelf for probably 2-3 years now.

For the New Year’s Resolution Book Tag, I also crossed Six of Crows off, and made it to 10/12 books for my goal this year. (I set a very modest goal to help take pressure off so I could get back to enjoying reading.)


And that was my February, in books read and goals met!

 

How was your February?

#RockMyTBR Challenge

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Hosted by The YA Book Traveler, this challenge is meant to motivate us to read the books already published, instead of ARCs and such.

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of books I’ve neglected (some for well over 10 years, eek!) in favor of newer releases and ARCs.

I don’t think I’ll try to read specific books for this challenge, but I will list a few I’m thinking about because they’ve been on my shelves way too long. I’ll be keeping track of the books I read for this challenge on a goodreads shelf.

My goals:

  • Read at least one book per month that’s been on my shelf at least a year

OR

  • Read at least one Kindle book purchased over a year ago

 

Some of the books I’m considering for this:

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullun  16130398

24817626 Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Cinder by Marissa Meyer 11235712

33 The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (I knooow! I’ve started it several times, but it intimidates me!)

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty 179780

17331828 Talon by Julie Kagawa

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood 13590839

2227486 V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 8120173

18007564 The Martian by Andy Weir

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman 2213661

 

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I’m not sure if I can count it, since I read it before I
knew about this challenge, but I finally read The Pearl by John Steinbeck this month. It’s been on my shelf for probably 12 years, and I’d already decided late last year that I wanted to start reading more of the books I’ve had for ages. So, I’m counting it anyway.

 

 

 

I feel everyone and their grandmother has read most of these, and I’m one of the last to read them. But, if you also haven’t read one/some of these, and you’re interested in reading any of these books together, let me know. I love buddy-reads!

 

Have you read any of these? Which do you think I should read first?