Category: Reading Challenges

O.W.L’s Magical Readathon 2019

Posted April 4, 2019 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 2 Comments

I used to love reading challenges but I stopped participating in them a while back and I hadn’t found one intriguing enough to get me back into them… until now. Jessticulates shared about a Harry Potter themed readathon hosted by Gi @ Book Roast for the entire month of April and as soon as I read about it, I knew I had to participate. Gi has created one of the most creative reading challenges I’ve seen yet and it certainly doesn’t hurt things that it’s Harry Potter related. Based off the O.W.Ls (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) from the stories, this readathon will be held April 1-30th where reading a book related to each “class” will earn you a grade.

In addition to trying to achieve as many “O’s” as possible, you can take this challenge to the next level using the Wizarding Career guide that Gi put together. Each career shows you which OWLs you need a passing grade for, so because I picked Librarian as my career choice, I need passing grades in five classes but I’m still going to shoot for all 12 OWLs because I’m ambitious insane. I’ve been heading for a major reading slump for a while now (my last 4-star read was 3 DNFs and 16 complete books ago) so I’m hoping I’ve picked some great reads and that this successfully gets me back on track. Without further ado, here are the books I’ve selected to read for my O.W.L.’s!

Ancient Runes (Retelling): The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3) by Rick Riordan
Arithmancy (Work written by more than one author): Dating You / Hating You by Christina Lauren
Astronomy (“Star” in the title): Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
Care of Magical Creatures (Land animal on the cover): War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Charms (Age-line, read an adult work): Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
Defense Against the Dark Arts (Reducto: title starts with an R): The Right Swipe (Modern Love #1) by Alisha Rai

Divination (Set in the future): Unholy Ghosts (Downside Ghosts #1) by Stacia Kane
Herbology (Plant on the cover): Wilder Girls by Rory Power
History of Magic (Published at least 10 years ago): Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
Muggle Studies (Contemporary): Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett
Potions (Next ingredient: sequel): Like Lions (Bull Mountain #2) by Brian Panowich
Transfiguration (Sprayed edges or red cover): Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab

It’s not too late to join in! Check out Jessticulates and Book Roast for more information. ūüôā



Bookish Bingo: Holiday 2015

Posted December 11, 2015 by Bonnie in Bingo, Reading Challenges / 0 Comments


Well, not quite yet, but soon. Until then, we can be excited about the new Holiday Bingo Card!

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This is quite possibly my favorite bingo card to date. My whole goal lately has been to get my review stack down to a manageable size, and I have, but I’d really like to get it down to the single digits or even knock it out completely. So, almost all of the review books I have left? I’ve applied to bingo squares in hopes I can stick with it so I can meet that goal. Fingers crossed. ūüôā Bold and underline are my review books in case you wanted to know. And yeah, I haven’t QUITE decided on my graphic novel.¬†Figured I’d pick one up from the library when I feel the urge.

Bingo Square Title
Romance The History of Love
Snow on Cover Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser
Has been Translated Shadow of the Wind
Holiday Themed Krampus
Epistolary Where’d You Go, Bernadette
Multi POV A God in Ruins
Series Finale The Clockwork Crown
Fantasy A Court of Thorns and Roses
Pink Cover Gillespie and I
2015 Release The Lake House
Time Travel Once Was a Time
A Friend’s Fave A Walk in the Woods
Thriller The Immortals
One-Word Title Gemsigns
Award Winner Station Eleven
Black Author Delicate Monsters
White Cover In the Woods
Book Was a Gift When the Wind Blows
Retelling The Steep and Thorny Way
2016 Debut Fallen Land by Taylor Brown
Graphic Novel  ??????
Start a New Series The Clockwork Dagger
Royalty Winter
Blue Cover My Diary From the Edge of the World



National Book Awards 2015: My Pick

Posted November 17, 2015 by Bonnie in Discussion Post, Reading Challenges / 5 Comments

This officially marks the end of my experiment and I gotta tell you, it was a ton of fun.¬†None of these books were on my TBR but pushing myself outside of my comfort zone and reading those stories that I normally wouldn’t was quite an eye-opening experience. If you missed any of them, here are the links to my reviews for each book.


Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin


 photo 9780061134142_b0098.jpgThe first Finalist I picked up was Challenger Deep¬†by Neal Shusterman. I adored¬†Unwind¬†by this author¬†and while this one is completely different,¬†oh, this story quite blew me away. This is the story of a fifteen year old boy who is suffering from schizophrenia and is struggling to live a normal life before getting treatment. An incredibly heartfelt story that the author brings to life based on his own son’s experiences with mental illness. It was part fantasy and melancholy and I truly loved this story. What I loved most was the honesty (and the lack of a romance to make mental illness all okay like most stories of this ilk). Extremely well-written and completely captivating.

My second read was¬†The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin. This is more of a National Book Award 2015 Finalist ‚Äď The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Middle Grade novel and is actually the authors debut. It’s the story of¬†Suzy Swanson who loses her best friend, twice. The first time she loses her is to the group of popular girls at school when Suzy fails to change her quirky ways and the second time is when she dies from drowning while on vacation. This one wasn’t on my TBR because kids books that deal with death¬†are typically¬†the most heartbreaking. I loved the portrayal of this one with its positive message and Suzy’s character is definitely one to admire.

 photo 9780062278227_15fdd.jpgUp next was the graphic novel¬†Nimona by¬†Noelle Stevenson. I hadn’t heard much of anything about this story despite the fact that it was apparently a well-loved web comic before it was published this past May. I’m a recent convert to graphic novels so I was eager to pick this one up after it got declared an NBA Finalist. I can’t say that I particularly see why it was nominated though. It was entertaining and made me laugh but it didn’t necessarily have the impact on me that the other reads already had. I do love seeing graphic novels being given the spotlight more and more these days though.

My second to last read was Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. This one had been on my TBR at photo 9780062317605_e6e2c.jpg
one point but apparently didn’t survive one of my infamous shelf purges. I’m a huge fan of magical realism though so I can’t quite recall why I gave it the boot.¬†Bone Gap was easily one of the¬†most unusual and unconventional reads I’d read this year… possibly ever. I didn’t¬†realize until halfway through when I was reading an interview with the author that¬†this is in part¬†based on the Persephone myth which made me more intrigued in the book than I was before. Very mysterious with some rocky¬†world-building but still an impressive enough story in my opinion.

 photo 9781596439528_991ba.jpgI saved the most daunting read for last, and ironically enough it ended up being one of my favorites.¬†Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin, as the title proclaims, is a story about the history of the Vietnam War. I saved it for last because, eeek, Non-Fiction. Except! It’s written in such an awesome way, I could have mistaken it for one of my typical mystery thrillers.¬†This marks the third time that Steve Sheinkin has been a Finalist: in 2012 for Bomb: The Race to Build‚Äēand Steal‚Äēthe World‚Äôs Most Dangerous Weapon and in 2014 for The Port Chicago 50. Third times a charm? I suppose we shall see.

So who should win?

*deep breaths*

It’s not like I’m actually picking the winner, I could be¬†completely wrong but this still feels like a huge decision. I’ve spent the last month or so reading these stories and I’m so excited to find out who’s going to be taking home this incredible honor. Having read all of the Finalists and experiencing the stories makes me feel more invested in the outcome. But, I suppose the whole point to this was to make an actual decision.

It’s so hard to really differentiate between the stories because they’re all so incredibly different. Mental Illness, Death, Fantasy, Magical Realism/Mythology, and Non-Fiction. They’re all in a category of their own so judging them all grouped together like that is a bit daunting. In terms of overall impressiveness, it boils down to two:¬†Most Dangerous¬†by Steve Sheinkin and¬†Challenger Deep¬†by Neal Shusterman. I gave both of these stories 4.5 stars but for different reasons.¬†Most Dangerous was an incredibly thrilling portrayal of a real-life event and Sheinkin’s research was impeccable.¬†Challenger Deep was an amazing yet heartrending adventure into the mysteries of mental illness. I’ve read several stories about mental illness before and none affected me quite like this one did.

Argh. Clearly I’m being indecisive. I can’t pick two winners. So, drum-roll please…

If I had it my way, Challenger Deep would win the National Book Award. The uniqueness in the portrayal was immensely¬†moving and it couldn’t have been a more authentically felt depiction. It wasn’t emotionally devastating just because that’s what one would expect, it wasn’t a story that started off about mental illness only to be sideswiped by a romance that came out of left field, and it wasn’t given an unreasonable happy-ending. It was sincere and genuine with artwork that only added to its appeal.

National Book Award 2015 Finalist ‚Äď Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

So there you have it! That’s my pick at least. ūüôā Be sure to check out the National Book Award site tomorrow (November 18th) for the actual winner.



National Book Awards 2015: Picking the Winner Experiment

Posted October 15, 2015 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 3 Comments

The National Book Awards shortlist has been announced and I’m once again impressed with the variety in selections.¬†Book award nominations always¬†generate interest in books but the NBA’s have always been the most interesting to me (vs. The Booker). For years I have wanted to cut out some time to devote to reading the nominee’s prior to the winners are announced in an attempt to not only understand what the judges are seeing but¬†to make my own half-hazard guess as to who is most worthy of the win. I haven’t actually read a single one of the finalists yet but I’ve decided to finally attempt this little experiment this year for the¬†Young People’s Literature category.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin [Purchase]
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby [Purchase]
Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin [Purchase]
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman [Purchase]
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson [Purchase]

A young girl struggles to deal with her grief after the death of her best friend so she begins researching a rare jellyfish she believes is responsible for her friends death. A magical realism tale of a boy in a small town who witnesses an abduction but is unable to keep his facts straight because of his inability to differentiate between faces. A non-fiction story about Daniel Ellsberg, the individual responsible for leaking secret documents during the Vietnam War. A story about a young boy with schizophrenia and the mental adventures his illness takes him on. And a fantasy graphic novel about shapeshifters and villains with romance and humor.

Winner’s are announced November 18th so I’ve got a little over a month to read these five titles.

Have you read any of these already? Who do you think is most worthy of the win?



Back to School Bingo 2015

Posted September 3, 2015 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

Yep, it’s time for another bingo card! Some really excellent squares and it’s oh, so pretty too.

Interested in joining in? Head on over to Pretty Deadly Reviews to sign up now! Bekka lists out the rules and offers some picks for those tougher squares.

I had a hard time making my pick for Religious Minority MC (I picked Rumble — I believe Atheism should work), Animal on the Cover (Watership Down because seriously, I hate telling people I haven’t read that) and a Book About Dreams (Requiem for a Dream because it’s the only one that came to mind first).

Here are the rest of what I’ve picked (for now — because it always seems to change!)

Horror Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
Reread Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
LGBTQIA The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
Sparkly Cover Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Mental Illness A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Religious Minority MC Rumble by Ellen Hopkins
Borrowed Book The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
Over 400 Pages My Diary from the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Science Fiction Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Water on the Cover A Pocket Full of Murder by R.J. Anderson
Orange Cover Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
New To You Author The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
On Your Shelf For Over a Year (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Set in Another Country The Ruins by Scott B. Smith
Lol-Worthy Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Animal on the Cover Watership Down by Richard Adams
New Adult Cam Girl by Leah Raeder
Author Shares First Initial The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
Mystery We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean
Set in a High School The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Sept/Oct/Nov Release Traffick by Ellen Hopkins
Black Cover Come Closer by Sara Gran
A Book About Dreams Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
Historical Fiction The Lake House by Kate Morton

fall bingo



Bookish Bingo – Summer 2015 Wrap-Up

Posted August 29, 2015 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 1 Comment

The best thing about doing a Bingo Wrap-Up is knowing that a new Bingo card is soon coming. I finished this card super early, finishing my last book on August 11th. I couldn’t believe how LOST I was in picking new reads because I didn’t have to check to see if it applied to a Bingo square. Bingo has become quite a bit of an obsession for me but I do love it so. If you haven’t joined in, you should give it a whirl, it’s a ton of fun.

Here are the books I read for this Bingo card and my reviews for each: photo 698261959.jpg

Cover has been changed: The Long Walk by Stephen King |Review|
PoC Writer: Trollhunters (Trollhunters #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus |Review|
Title is More Than Three Words: Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty |Review|
Magic: Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor |Review|
Fire in Title or On Cover: Fire Above, Fire Below by Garth Nix |Read on June 01, 2015|
Multi POV: Love May Fail by Matthew Quick |Review|
Face on Cover: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch |Review|
Purple Cover: The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman |Read from July 15 to 16, 2015|
Tearjerker: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon |Review|
Travel: Swerve by Vicki Pettersson |Review|
June, July, August Release: Shades of Treason (Anomaly #1) by Sandy Williams |Review|
Time Travel: Replay by Ken Grimwood |Review|
2015 Debut: I Take You by Eliza Kennedy |Review|
Award Winner: On Writing by Stephen King |Read from June 04 to 11, 2015|
Young Adult: Blood of My Blood (Jasper Dent #3) by Barry Lyga |Review|
Short Story: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James |Review|
Finish a Series: Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen |Review|
MC With Physical Disability: Blindness (Blindness #1) by José Saramago |Review|
White Cover: Blindsighted (Grant County #1) by Karin Slaughter |Review|
Blue Cover: Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich |Review|
“Beach Read”:¬†The Coincidence of Coconut Cake by Amy E. Reichert |Review|
Out of Your Comfort Zone: The Wolf Border: A Novel by Sarah Hall|DNF Review|
Published Over a Year Ago: Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga |Review|
Retelling: Fables Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham |Review|

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Bookish Bingo – Summer 2015

Posted June 6, 2015 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

What happened to Spring Bookish Bingo, you say? Well, I’m¬†switching it up. I’ve decided to scratch the last Bingo card and start on the Summer Bingo card instead. Two reasons: 1. I was honestly a bit behind in that card and the last month would have been a struggle to complete. 2. Most of the squares I had left to fill couldn’t be filled by review books and I’d much rather be able to do bingo AND work on my review mountain. So that’s that!

I’m really loving the new card though and while I struggled finding picks for a few squares, I was able to apply TWENTY review books! I’m feeling pretty good about my picks (although I always say this and always end up switching things up). So, here is the new (and can I say¬†beautiful) Summer Bingo card!


Interested in joining in? Head on over to Pretty Deadly Reviews to sign up now! Bekka lists out the rules and offers some picks for those tougher squares.

And here are MY picks. ūüôā

Cover Has Been Changed Cuckoo Song
POC Writer Antigoddess
Title is More Than 3 Words Serafina and the Black Cloak
Magic The Clockwork Dagger
Fire (In Title or on Cover) Fire Above, Fire Below
Multi POV Thor’s Serpents
Face on Cover Damage Done
Purple Cover The Girl at Midnight
Tearjerker Everything, Everything
Travel The Devil You Know
June/July/August Release The Uninvited
Time Travel Replay
2015 Debut Bull Mountain
Award Winner On Writing
Young Adult A Court of Thorn and Roses
Short Story Voice of Gods
Finish a Series Lion Heart
MC w/ Physical Disability Marrow
White Cover Violent Ends
Blue Cover Love May Fail
“Beach Read” The Coincidence of Coconut Cake
Out of Your Comfort Zone The Wolf Border
Published 1+ Year Ago (Don’t You) Forget About Me
Retelling Grounded: The Adventures of Rapunzel



Bookish Bingo – Spring 2015

Posted April 7, 2015 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 0 Comments

I’m sure this goes without saying at this point, but there’s not much that I go crazy about more than Bookish Bingo. So, the last card I kind of blew because sucky things in life¬†got in the way but I’m back! And even though this card is crazy hard and took me days to come up with picks, I’m doing it. I tried to incorporate as many review books into my picks so I don’t fall completely off track but I’m feel pretty good about my picks and hope I can stick to it.


Murder Mystery Depth by Lev A.C. Rosen
Forgotten Fridays Pick Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen
Aussie Author Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Reread The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Dark Contemporary Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins
Classic Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
Yellow Cover I Take You by Eliza Kennedy
April, May, June Release The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Rain or Storm in Title Season of Storms by Susanna Kearsley
High Fantasy An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Parental Relationships Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy
Bullying Black Iris by Leah Raeder
Anthology or Collection Burning Bright: Stories by Ron Rash
WWII Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Horror When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
Thieves, Assassins, Pirates Lady Thief (Scarlet #2) by A.C. Gaughen
Parallel Universes Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
Green Cover The Awesome by Eva Darrows
#WeNeedDiverseBooks The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Illustrated Cover The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman
Part of a Trilogy Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A.C. Gaughen
Non-Fiction or Memoir Seven Letters from Paris: A Memoir by Samantha Verant
Historical A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
Plants on Cover Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Are you participating? You should. It’s a blast. ūüôā Sign up here!

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Bookish Bingo – 2015 New Year

Posted January 2, 2015 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 2 Comments

There had been talk of not doing another Bingo card until March but thankfully that didn’t happen. I think it’s quite possible I have developed a bingo addiction.


Below is¬†¬†list of what¬†I’ve come up with for each square. In an attempt to follow my goal of 2015 (getting my¬†review pile under control¬†and focusing on already owned books) I didn’t do too shabby. 13 of my picks are ARCs, 7 are owned books and only 4 are ones I’ll need to get from the library. ūüôā

Forgotten Fridays Pick Scarlet by A.G. Gaughen
Start a Series Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1) by Gail Carriger
2015 Debut Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Magical Realism (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Fairy Tale Retelling Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Pretty Dress Cover India Black (Madam of Espionage Mysteries #1) by Carol K. Carr
Middle Grade Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
White Cover Traitor’s Blade (Greatcoats, #1) by Sebastien de Castell
LGBTQIA Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Epistolary Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) by Megan McCafferty
Blue Cover The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Mystery/Thriller Dark Rooms: A Novel by Lili Anolik
Over 400 Pages Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman
Graphic Novel Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
PoC MC The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Mental Illness Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Romance 99 days by Katie Cotugno
2014 Release You Missed The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
Based on Mythology Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
Gold Lettering The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Fairies/Fae A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Male POV Game (Jasper Dent #2) by Barry Lyga
Super Powers Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Pink Cover Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

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Bookish Bingo ‚Äď Holiday 2014 Wrap-up

Posted December 31, 2014 by Bonnie in Reading Challenges / 2 Comments


Another Bingo card done. This one became a huge struggle for me trying to find enough days to get reviews posted and what with the busy Holidays… so this time I’m using what I like to call the Bingo loophole on a few (I read them but have yet to review them). Below are all of my picks for each square:


Reread: Garden Spells (Waverley Family #1) by Sarah Addison Allen {My Review}
Green Cover: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater {My Review}
Historical: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers {My Review}
Set in New Orleans: Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys {Read from December 22 to 26, 2014}
Horror: Murder (Mayhem #2) by Sarah Pinborough {My Review}
Romance: Unravel by Calia Read {My Review}
Ice, Snow, or Frost in title: First Frost (Waverley Family #2) by Sarah Addison Allen {My Review}
Creature on cover: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud {My Review}

Native American MC: The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich {Read from December 14 to 27, 2014}
Red Cover: The Skin Collector (Lincoln Rhyme #11) by Jeffery Deaver {My Review}
Set on Halloween:¬†Hallowe’en Party (Hercule Poirot Series #36) by Agatha Christie {My Review}
Snow on Cover: Christmas at Tiffany’s by Karen Swan {My Review}
Black Cover: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley {My Review}
Serial Killers: MARY: The Summoning (Bloody Mary #1) by Hillary Monahan {My Review}
Birds on Cover: The Bird Market of Paris: A Memoir by Nikki Moustaki {My Review}
Mystery: Party Games (Fear Street #52) by R.L. Stine {My Review}

Set During Christmastime: The Perfect Present by Karen Swan {My Review}
Set in Space: American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett {My Review}
A Book That Was a Gift: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor #1) by Lisa Kleypas {My Review}
Witches: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis {Read from December 09 to 10, 2014}
Set in Autumn: The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Anthony Horowitz {My Review}
Orange Cover: Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #4) by Maggie Stiefvater {My Review}
Fall or Winter Release: A Good Marriage by Stephen King {My Review}
Steampunk: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer {My Review}

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