5 book wrap up, Book Reviews, Reading, StephReads2019, Uncategorized

Books 6-10 wrap up

So whoever thought that I would be more active on my blog this year by doing 5 book reviews/wrapups, y’all can go ahead and laugh because I sure did.

I’m slightly distressingly behind, but I’m hoping I can knock a few more of these out tomorrow since I don’t work, but that also requires me to stop reading for a spell and we all know that won’t happen.

Let’s jump straight to the books, alright?

Book 6: A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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462 pages, fiction. 4.25 stars, TBR.

Basically this is about the Count who is placed under house-arrest for about 20 some years in a hotel. And all the people that he meets and changes while there.

I’ll be real, I mainly wanted to read this book because I had read his previous work and loved it, and wanted to get this one. I actually won this in a giveaway on instagram and decided it would be one of the books I devoured in January. And it was the perfect book for cold and grim January. I did love it, though I felt that the ending was a bit sparse but on the whole I highly recommend it. It’s more of a character driven book then a plot driven though, so it does seem to take time to get going, but I loved it.

Book 7: The diary of a bookseller by Shawn Bythell

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312 pages, non-fiction, 3 stars.

This was a small diary of a bookseller who works in Scotland at a used bookstore. It was interesting at points, but because it was told in very short text, you don’t really get a glimpse of what the customers are like, what the business looks like or anything. Plus, and I hate to say this, but the narrator had this annoying habit of sounding like he was better than anyone just because he read books, and his customers wanted different things or different books. I think if it was redone to a different format, it probably would have been higher rated for me.

 

Book 8: The imaginary by A.F. Harrold

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221 pages, middlegrade, 3 stars.

This book was about an imaginary friend and the “Reals” that they dealt with but something felt off for me on this book. It could be that we didn’t really get much background on the bad guy, it could be that it wasn’t really told well or that the narrative seemed to be missing a lot of pieces. The author also seemed to try to be imitating Roland Dahl’s style to a very specific point and it just came off as him copying instead of imitating.

 

Book 9: Tiny Homes by Country Living

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196 pages, non-fiction, 3 stars.

I actually thought this would be something different than what it was. I thought it was going to be about people living in tiny homes, which I admit is something I find fascinating, but instead it just showcased a few of the tiny homes that people live in. So more style and form rather than how they do it. I am glad that I read this though because I got a few ideas for space saving tricks in my own tiny apartment so there’s that.

 

Book 10: Quiet girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung

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178 pages, graphic novel, 4.25 stars.

I have never run across something that so accurately describes me as an introvert than this comic. It’s fantastic and I absolutely loved it. Highly recommend for everyone to read, not just introverts.

 

During this time frame I also DNF’d (did not finish) 2 books.  The 2 books I DNF’d were Cruel Prince and Property of the Rebel Librarian. There were a few reasons, ok more than a few, for me to stop reading them, and the main one on both of them were the characters and their style. I really don’t want to go into it, but basically neither of these books were for me. And I’m ok with that.

So there we go fellow booknerds, only about 5 more to go before I’m caught up! 🙂

Happy reading, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, Reading, StephReads2018

How I read over 200 books this year

I read a lot.

Like, over 200 books per year a lot.

Whenever I tell people that I read this much they usually ask me how I do it, or what kind of magic did I do to make that number possible.

And honestly, I never thought that this was some high sort of number, until I began looking at stats of average readers, where most people don’t even finish a book per month, let alone in the high 20’s per year.

So, I thought that it would be fun to tell you a bit about how I read so many books, and maybe some of them will help you out. (If not, no worries, I’m just over here reading like always)

One of the things I make sure to do is make reading a priority. Many people I work with at my second job don’t get why I don’t have cable (the main 2 reasons are it’s freaking expensive and I don’t need to have the distraction) but in reality, I’ve chosen to make my reading a main thing I do when I come home.

I do still watch netflix or amazon prime, and I watch some booktube videos, but on the whole after watching one or two episodes, I realize how much time I’m wasting and I turn it off and go to a book.

When I say I make reading a priority, I don’t mean that I neglect my writing or my job or whatever, I just mean that I am try to read every day for at least 20 minutes. I use the app Bookly which tracks how long you read each day and while I’m not super competitive with others, I love seeing how long that streak can go.

And this is difficult, especially when I work an 8 hour day at my first job, get home to brew a cup of coffee and then immediately set out for my second job and don’t get home till after 11 pm. But I find that if I don’t read anything during the day or even right before I got to bed, my mood is just not there.

Reading helps me relax, refocus and also make sure that my mental health is up.

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I also try and read multiple books at the same time. For some reason, I don’t like to read only one book at a time, it actually causes me to read slower when I don’t have the option of picking up a different book. Right now, for instance, I have 6 different books going on at once. I try to not do the same sort of genre for each book just so I don’t get confused, but sometimes I can’t help it.

I have always done this. I read books and sometimes the plot is lost or the character is dull or I just need a break from the 500 page tome that I’ve started and I go after a different book. (There are times that this backfires on me as there are some books that I just don’t feel like completing and are bugging me but that’s a different story)

Also it makes me feel really accomplished when I manage to complete 3 or so books in one day, because look at that Goodreads challenge jump up!

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Another thing I do for my reading is to acknowledge that there are some authors I just don’t like and won’t read. Most people will say you need to read widely, and I whole-heartedly agree with that, but I don’t want to spend time and money on an author when I know I don’t like how they write or what they write. There are too many books in the world that are waiting for me to find them and I don’t have time to waste on mediocre books/authors.

And just because I don’t like a book or feel like a book is for me, doesn’t mean that it might not be for you. One of the best things about reading is that it’s subjective to the reader, and what I like you might actually hate. We can all have our own opinions.

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This year I got super into graphic novels and to be real, I’m so glad I did. They basically go fast, pretty artwork and make me feel so happy because “Look how many books I finished because of them”. I wish I could say the same for audiobooks, but unfortunately I’m very picky on audiobooks. I have to have a narrator I like, I have to have read the book previously and I have to like the way they talk. (Kid you not, very unpopular opinion here but everyone in the book community seems to love Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter books and I absolutely HATED how he voiced the characters)

I really wish I could read more audiobooks because then I would have so many books read, but I have 3 that I love, and that’s enough for me at the moment.

Another thing I do to challenge myself to read more books is something that’s really random but it’s to take a picture of each book and do a twitter thread with it. For some reason knowing that the thread pops up and shows not only how many books I’ve read but also how many pages and ratings I’ve given it, makes me want to read more just to fill it up.

And the last thing I do to read so much is just literally carry a book with me wherever I go. Anytime there’s a line (hello crazy holiday shopping) I pull out the book and read. Maybe it will only be a few pages, maybe it will be almost finishing the book, but I never really have a problem with waiting.

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So, yeah that’s pretty much how I read and such…which really wasn’t very full of tips as far as I can see, but maybe one of these will help you out!

Hope your day is going great, and remember life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, Reading, StephReads2018

5 books I want to finish before 2019

One of the most annoying things being a BookDragon is that I have a sad tendency to start books, get invested in them, and then when it gets boring or too stressful (I don’t know who says reading is relaxing because I barely experience that!) I tend to put it down and start a new book.

Which is sometimes good, because I am a mood reader and there are times when I just need a different type of book, but the bad part of me doing this is that I have quite a few books that I have half-started and.

just.

haven’t.

finished.

So these are books I want to read before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. I’m hoping I can get through all of them, or even at least part of them, just to finish them and get them off of the indeterminate shelf on my TBR that is aptly titled “Started but not yet finished”. (These are in order based on how long they have been sitting on my shelf half-started, and here’s my post of shame)

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1-Hunting Prince Dracula. Dude I have had this half-started on my shelf for over a YEAR and yet, I still have yet to motivate myself to read this book. I don’t know why because I absolutely loved the first one but for some reason I just haven’t been in the mood for this one. But now with the new book out already, I just need to up my reading game and finish this one so I can get to the third one.

(*Update: I looked on my Goodreads shelf while uploading this, I literally have only read 135 pages in this book and it’s almost 500 pages…whoops)

2-While Beauty Slept. This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and the main reason I stopped reading this one, was I got bored. It’s very…informative but super dry and not that much magic and well, I got bored. Not much else to say about this one.

3-Forest of a Thousand Lanterns. This is a creepy retelling of Snow White but with Asian folklore and it’s from the perspective of the wicked queen. I really enjoyed this one (all 80 pages I got to) but since it’s sufficiently darker than I was expecting, I put it down expecting to get to it in October…which totally didn’t happen. I do want to finish this one though, I think it’s written really well so far.

4-Goose Girl. This one I feel a bit cheated on. I knew it was a retelling of the goose girl fairy tale, but it’s pretty much a straight retelling so far which is a bit disappointing because I wanted something different and weird. I do have high hopes for the whole series though, and I think once I get past the first one the rest would be good but it’s just getting there that’s the problem.

5-East of Eden. This is a retelling of the book of Genesis and it’s a hunker of a book. It’s really interesting, but there is a lot in this book that I feel could have been edited out and tightened but so far it really is just something that I’m trying to get through.

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So those are the books I’m in the middle of right now, not counting Anna Karenina which I’m reading with a group on instagram and should be done with by the end of the year. I would like to start the new year fresh and not have to have any half-started books around but I’m not sure that would happen.

I have noticed though that with the exception of East of Eden, all of these are fantasies so I’m not sure how that will work out, and I try to not read the same genre back to back, so I might have to change that for this month.

And unless something drastically changes, I seriously doubt that any of these are going to be new favourites or 5 star reads, though some of them might be close to it. And I’d love to be shocked to find that a book I thought I had all figured out, would move to the top of my list, but I’m slightly doubtful.

What books are you in the middle of? Do you leave off books for a while or do you try to finish them straight-away? Let me know below!

Have a great day booknerds, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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31DaysofBlogmas, monthly wrap up, StephReads2018

November Wrap-Up!!

This past month was actually a really good reading month for me! I didn’t really have a slump per say in October, but I definitely joined the struggle bus of what I didn’t know what to read!

Not so with November! In November it was like I hit the ground running and completed a lot of books within the first couple weeks.

I managed to read 20 books in November.

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9 were from the library, 1 was an arc (that I had on my shelf since August…whoops), 6 were brand new from my TBR and 4 were rereads.

I read a total of 7,027 pages this month, which I’m sure is helped because I ended up reading a few larger books, which of course helped my page count.

Breaking this down further:

*6 middlegrade this month (3 were rereads)

*2 biographies

*6 nonfiction

*2 adult fantasy

*3 Agatha Christie (and yes she’s in a category all her own!)

*1 Historical fiction

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I had a few disappointing reads, and a few that actually surprised me with how much I ended up liking them. On a whole though, this was one of my better reading months, because not only did I actually get to a lot of the books I planned to, but I also managed to knock 6 more books off of my TBR named Steve. All in all, a good month!

What about you fellow booknerds? What have you been reading this month? What was the best book, or the worst? Let me know below!

Have a great day, and remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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BookHaul, Books, StephReads2018

Last 10 books tag!

I saw this tag on G-Swizzel’s channel and thought it was an unique take on books and what we were reading, so I figured I would try it out! (See her video about it here!)

1-What was the last book you DNF’d?

The last book I DNF’d (did not finish) was Fawkes by Nadine Brandes. I was super excited about this book, a retelling of Guy Fawkes but with magic, and couldn’t wait to get to it. However, I ended up stopping it about half-way in, for a number of reasons. I felt like it did move fast and the plot was steady, but even though it felt like it moved fast, there was very little character growth, and I wasn’t attached to any of the characters. There also was not much build up for how the plague started, so that was a disappointment. I have heard a lot of people rave about this one though so I think it’s just a case of “Not the right book for the right person”.

2-Last book you reread?

At the time of this writing the last book I reread was 4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie. I love rereading her mysteries because even though I’ve read nearly all of them, I manage to mostly forget exactly what happened and who did it. Which is not an easy task when I have an almost eidetic memory, but somehow I can do it on her books.

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3-Last book you bought?

I just had a Bookoutlet order come in yesterday so I would have to say all of those. Most recent single purchase that I made was The Lay of Atrouru and Ituren by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tis the season for book sales though so I’m sure I’ll be getting some more soon.

 

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4-Last book you said you read but didn’t?

The last book that I was convinced I had read was Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. We were supposed to read it for our senior class for English, and I was convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I had read it. And then this year I picked it up and realized…no I had never actually read it. (Sorry Ms. Turner…I thought I had!) But I am glad I never really read it in high school because I’m pretty sure it would have made me go off of reading for a while.

5-Last book you wrote in the margins of?

The book I’m currently reading now, Tried by Fire: the story of Christianity’s First 1000 Years by William J. Bennett. It’s a super interesting book about the start of Christianity and I keep finding parts I love and want to remember, so pens and highlighters to the rescue.

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6-Last book you got signed?

Well, I have a subscription to Owlcrate and every single one of their books come signed and with exclusive covers to boot. So the last one from them would be Shadow of the Fox or Pride. But if we are talking the last one where I met the author and got it signed it would be probably the Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkowski or Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor.

7-Last book you lost?

I don’t really lose books. I think the last time that I “lost” a book was when I had turned in a library stash and the librarians told my mom that I had lost a book and hadn’t turned it in. We searched high and low for that book for 3 days, tearing apart every part of my room, my sister’s room, the apartment and the car. After 3 days my mom went in, telling them we couldn’t find it and could it possibly be on the shelf? After just 10 minutes of looking we found it, sitting on the shelf, not checked in. My mom was…slightly livid on that. But that was the only time where I “lost” a book.

8-Last book you had to replace?

I had to replace 2 books from loaning them to friends and not getting them back. But the last ones I replaced because I was replacing the old covers were my Jane Austen collection. I have been wanting a matched set for years and I finally got them all and they just look so pretty on my shelf.

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9-Last book you had an argument over?

Oh dear. Well, let’s just say I have quite a few differing opinions about books and plots and what constitutes a good book, and leave it at that. I don’t really have arguments with people about books because reading is so subjective, but if someone asks my opinion on certain books (*coughsarahjmasscoughjohngreencough*) I have no problem telling people what I think.

10-Last book you couldn’t get a hold of?

That would be the white copy of the Night Circus. The Night Circus is one of my all time favourite books, but I cannot find the white edition of it at all. (If anyone has it that they would like to send to me for an early Christmas gift, I would be absolutely grateful and thankful…just putting that out there)

Anyways, so that’s the tag, it was super fun to do! I don’t know who has done this one yet, but if you haven’t, please do it and then let me know! I love reading about other people’s last books…or really any books!

Remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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NEWTS Readathon, Reading, StephReads2018

N.E.W.T.’s Readathon TBR

Back in April we were challenged by the wonderful Book Roast to finally sit our O.W.L’s exams. We were given 12 prompts to line up with the classes and now after our O.W.L.’s are done, we are now getting ready to sit our Nastly Exhausting Wizarding Tests (aka N.E.W.T.’s) and of course, there are more challenges then before! (O.W.L.’s and N.E.W.T’s videos are here and here)

For the N.E.W.T’s we have 3 grades so to speak for each category. Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations and Outstanding. You have to complete each level before you can move on to the next one. And because I did Herminoe  levels during April, I have seven categories that I want to get my O in.

Potions, Arithmacy, Charms, Muggle Studies, History of Magic, Transfiguration and Care of Magical creatures.  Granted that means that I have 21 books to read this next month, and since I have been changing my TBR about 3 different times in the past 24 hours, I seriously doubt the TBR I chose, will actually be the TBR I end up with, but stranger things have happened.

Acceptable Level:

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One of the things that I am trying to do this round is pick out books that were all out of my own TBR, so that way I can get my TBR down and also buy some new books. (Yes, I realize that this makes not much sense at all, but shush, it will work I tell you.)

 

For Exceeds Expectations:

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There are a few books in this list, are ones that I have read before, not many but a few at least. I love jumping into a story that I already know and love, because for some reason it helps me remember plot points of the new books that I read.

 

And For Outstanding:

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My goal is to actually try and complete about 14 of these. I’m actually not sure how that will work, because I know I will have library books and probably new books coming that I’ll be excited about so who knows.

Anyways, that’s pretty much my TBR. I’m hoping to get a post up to talk about the past 3 readathons that I was involved in these past two weeks, but as we have so eloquently proven, I have absolute no power over when my posts come up.

Have a great day, and remember booknerds, life is too short to read mediocre books!

~Stephanie

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Reading, StephReads2018

Summer Lovin’ had me some books!

Hello Booknerds!

Today I am going to recommend some amazing and wonderful summery books!

But Steph, you might be wondering, It’s still May, which means it’s still Spring! Why not do a Spring book recommendation?

Well dear smol summer child, because in the MidWest (where I live) we only get spring for exactly 2 days here, and then the temperature jumps to the 90’s and we swelter and die for 6 months. So no, spring has actually already passed us by, and considering this past week was up over 95 degrees every single day, it’s now summer.

Now for these recommendations, not all of them take place during summer. And I know a lot of people tend to go more toward contemporaries during the hot months, which I sometimes do as well. Of course, I also tend to go towards murder mystery books, fantasy and also anything lighthearted and fun during the summer…so there’s that (and also the fall, winter, and spring but you know…)

So, on to the books!

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1- The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.

Friends to lovers, cute sweet geeky boy and cute sweet shy girl, what’s not to like? Not to mention that even though this book is set in high school, there is no mean jocks or horrid cheerleaders? Like, seriously, everyone is so nice in this book and it makes me just so happy because I love seeing people break tropes and this is just such a cute read!

2-Love Fortunes and other disasters by Kim Karailus

A town where magic actually exists and true love is waiting for you in the form of a love fortune, well except for the slender few who get a fortune stating that they will never have love. This book has humor, fun, love (obviously) and a group of rebels that you would never guess. I adore this book and the companion novel, and if you aren’t craving some sweet chocolate pretzels at the end of this, well, maybe you should try again.

3-Girl against the Universe by Paula Stokes

I recommend this book pretty much all the time to people who are looking for a good read. Maguire is convinced that she is cursed. Mainly because it feels like every time something good happens, life spirals out of control and causes people she knows to be hurt and even die. She is going to therapy and meets Jordy who is also seeing the same therapist. But here’s the thing, there is good representation here, as well as the boy who meets the girl does not cure her- and that is such a good thing that I love it whole-heartedly.

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4-My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

This is a hilarious retelling of Jane Grey, the girl who was queen for 9 days during the Tudor period of history. However, instead of them making her lose her head (literally she got beheaded in actual history) they made this period of history a time where there was shape-shifters and magic. There are some of the best lines in this book and with the next novel they are writing coming out in June, now is the best time to fall in love with the Lady Janeites as they call themselves

5-The careful undressing of love by Corey Ann Haydu

The girls of Devonairre Street are cursed. For decades, the old women of the block have told the younger generations that any boy they love will die too soon. To fight the curse the girls wear their hair long and always wear a key around their neck, even though the curse has just become more of an accessory then an actual thing, except when Jack suddenly dies, Jack the boy that everyone loves, even without trying. And Lorna needs to decide if she is going to live with a curse like that, or try to break it. Absolutely creepy and fantastic.

6-The weight of feathers by Anne-Marie Mcelmore

Maybe you don’t want something funny? Maybe instead you would like something a bit darker and mysterious and while lyrical also dealing with prejudices and problems? Have I got the story for you: this is centered around two competing families, the Palomas who take to the water like they were born there, and the Corbeaus who flit among the trees like they have wings. Both sides hate each other, but when Lace and Cluck fall somehow in love, they must learn what is really important, and what is worth giving up.

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7-I believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. Student body president, varsity soccer star, and how she plans to get into Stanford. However the one thing that doesn’t seem to be a part of the plan is her getting a boyfriend, even though she decides that maybe the Korean dramas her dad is always watching will help guide her to be able to land Luka, the boy she’s liked for ages. However, love seems to have a thing or two up its’ sleeve and it doesn’t seem like Desi will ever find a boyfriend or true love.

8- Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Strangers to friends, cross country road trip, and maybe a hint of something more? What was supposed to be a pretty straight shot from California to Connecticut, turns into a road trip for the ages, giving Amy and Roger a chance to look where they might be going and what detours they need to have in order to not be staying the same.

9-The Colour Project by Sierra Abrams

Bee has a secret that she doesn’t want anyone to know, her name. That is, until she meets Levi who has started the Colour Project which is a charity organization. When an unexpected illness swarms her family and drains her summer of everything bright and possible, she is pushed to the breaking point and has to choose between keeping it together or letting someone in to see the mess her life has become.

10-Jackaby by William Ritter

You only thought that you would get through a list without some mention of Jackaby didn’t you reader? *insert maniacal laughter* Nope! Jackaby is one of my favorite books of all time, and I will never stop talking about it. Jackaby is like a mix between Supernatural and Sherlock, with a dash of Buffy set in an alternate 1900’s. I freaking love this book and series, and easily could read it any time, and well, I need to reread it this year I’m thinking.

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*Bonus*

Ok it was so hard for me to limit myself to only 10 books, but I realized that I had this whole list planned out and somehow I forgot Pride and Prejudice? Like, my all time favorite book of ever, I just forgot to mention? Nope. Sorry, I’m adding it on as a bonus feature. I could have said any of Jane Austen’s because I think for the most part all of them have some sort of summer scene but in reality my heart will always stop at the scene of Elizabeth visiting Pemberley and seeing Darcy….le sigh.

So there you have it, a list of 10 (ahem 11) books that I feel everyone should at least put on their radar for the summer. Or for fall. Or actually for the next week. Ok in reality, these are ones you should read as soon as you can.

What about you fellow booknerds? What are some books you love to read during the summer? Did I mention any of your favorites? Have you read any of these? Let me know below!

 

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Have a great day and happy reading! And remember, life is too short for mediocre books!

~Always Reading~

Stephanie

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