Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Books! (finally) - August

It's been a hot minute since I've written about books and joined in the monthly linkup. Well, it's been a hot minute, period. The cool, damp spring/early summer was perfect weather for me .. the 90s with heat index in the 100s? Not so much.

Be sure to check out the other posts in the link up and thanks again to Steph and Jana for hosting these each month.

So ... since March (told you that minute was hot), here's what I've read:
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You, by Caroline Kepnes - I wanted to read this one before seeing the series on Netflix. Um ... definitely messed up and I needed a palate cleanser after reading. Tried watching the series and it didn't hold my interest. Maybe because the book was too much for me in a stalkerific way.

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Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman - I liked this one. It wasn't really what I was expecting though - I guess I thought it was a fluff novel, then it got darker than I was expecting, but I still liked it.

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Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens - Really liked this one. Kind of reminded me of Educated, without the whackadoo religion or the true story aspect.

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Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman - Meh ... it was OK. A lot that I had to just accept and move on with - main character receives her mom's yearbook, throws it away, realizes it probably wasn't a good idea, then tries to get it back.

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The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, by Kelly Harms - I'd say 3.5 stars ... funny in parts, a quick read, but if I hear "momspringa" one more time ...  The whole concept is ridiculous to me and that's fact.

And then for the 24-in-48 hour book challenge, I picked up several smallish books to breeze through:

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We Should All Be Feminists - by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 5 stars. Read it.

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American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin - by Terrance Hayes Poetry - definitely not my usual jam, but it was good.

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The End We Start From - by Megan Hunter - I liked this one. Kind of an apocalyptic story set in London. Seems like all the end of the world stories take place in the U.S. of A. so that changed things up for me.

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Evidence of the Affair - by Taylor Jenkins Reid - quick read, but it was the first TJR book I've read and I'd been wanting to read her books based on so many others recommending her. However ... trigger-warning ... why do I put myself through these? I mean, the title should have been a giveaway.

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Goodbye, Vitamin - by Rachel Khong - really really good. Also a quick read. Main character moves home to take care of her father, who has dementia.

I didn't track my time for the readathon - 24 hours in 48 is just not feasible for me - but I do like participating in them, because it gives me a reason to step back from all the other stresses going on and just chill with some books. Also gave me a reason to try a new coffee maker and ... hello ... so good ...
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What I'm reading now:
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Hope Rides Again - by Andrew Shaffer - about 1/2 way through. Picks up a little bit after Book 1 (Hope Never Dies). The bromance is alive and well.

Questions for you ...
Have you read any of these? Do you do readathons and track your time? Have you tried a Moka Pot?



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Bookish questions ... since I haven't been reading lately

I'm in a reading slump ... I want to read and keep getting books from the library. But when it comes time to sit and read? Nope. I blame the nice weather and just the general busy-ness of doing other things. So when I saw this list of bookish questions, I figured I'd answer ... even if no one else cares to read them. If you are reading, hey there! 

Edited to add the links I'm supposed to be linking to! This is kinda/not really part of the monthly Show Us Your Books linkup with Steph and Jana. If you're looking for book recommendations, go to their sites and then peruse the links. Lots of great suggestions on there! Here? ... not so much. Also edited to add, I have no idea what happened to the formatting. I copied the list of questions from Rebecca so maybe that's where I went wrong. :)


What book has been on your shelf the longest?

That I've read? That would be the Book of Giant Stories. I love that book - my mom found it when going through one of her decluttering phases and gave it to me for my personal library. My memories include climbing up in my dad's lap to have him read this to me, then he'd fall asleep and I'd keep reading aloud to him. I know my son found it and read it when he was younger. It's only 3 or 4 short stories but the artwork is pretty amazing too. And as many times as it's been read and carried around, the binding is in great shape.
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That I haven't read but keep meaning to? No idea - but I did/do have a habit of buying books and then never getting to them, because I would buy more books or go to the library to get other books. So yeah, there are a lot of books that are on my shelves that haven't been read. I've been getting rid of some (donations to Friends of Library booksale or dropping off at the Little Library in the neighborhood), but I swear those books multiply when I'm not looking.
What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?
Currently Reading: Good Riddance, by Elinor Lipman
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Last Read:  Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
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Next Read: Becoming, by Michelle Obama
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What Books Did Everyone Like, but You Hated?

Hmm ... not sure. I even went through my Goodreads lists and couldn't find one that I "hated". Life is too short and my TBR list is too long - if I get to the 3rd or 4th chapter and am still not into it, it's gone.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Les Misérables ... I have it on my Kindle and may eventually get to the end of it. Reading only a chapter every few months will take forever though. Amazingly, when I do get back to it, I still remember what's going on and who's who.

What book are you saving for retirement?

Why save them? Or maybe that will be Les Mis for me.

Last page: read it first or wait ’til the end?

I won't read it first, but I'll occasionally glance at it to see whose names are mentioned. Spoilers have never really bothered me in books or in TV/movies - it's all about the journey for me.

Acknowledgment: waste of paper and ink or interesting aside?
Meh - I don't read them. I'll read the dedication page at the beginning, but all the thank yous at the end? nope. I'd rather read about what the author was doing or going through when the book idea came to them or if current events influenced them in some way. 

Which book character would you switch places with?

Elizabeth Bennett - 'nuf said.

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (place, time, person)?
I would always get a John Grisham paperback for the flight back home from Alaska - not sure why other than he happened to release a book every summer and I needed a book to read on the flights. 

Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

Can't think of any - I do love it when friends give or loan me a book they think I'll like. The fact that they're thinking of me and want to share a book moment with me strengthens the friendship bond. I used to hoard my books and not want to loan any out, but now I've gotten to the point where I want to share these books with my friends and have been gifting them (no loans - please keep!) if I think they'll like them.
Oh - but I remembered one when I was filling in the last question below: 
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I have a few books at home from my college days as a German major. I doubt I'll ever read them again or if I could even read them now. But one I'll never get rid of is Der Pate. I stayed with a friend for a summer in Germany - wasn't really a foreign exchange student, wasn't really on vacation, just visiting her and traveling around when her school/'Gymnasium' was out for the summer. When I wasn't going to school with her as a pretend-student, I stayed at the house and tried reading Der Pate since I pretty much had the story memorized from reading the English version regularly (The Godfather, if you haven't guessed from the cover). On my last day there, her mom gifted the book to me ... and I haven't tried reading it since. 

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason/to a special person?

Yes - (see answer above)

Which book has been with you to the most places?

My Bible -- not changing Rebecca's answer ... the current one or any other version/format has been with me the longest and thanks to the YouVersion app on my phone, it's always with me. Before smartphones, my Bible went with me to every summer camp in Indiana and Alaska, went to college with me ... I can't say I read it as regularly as I'd like to or should, but I know I'd miss it if I didn't have it.

Any ‘required reading’ you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later

Two years later?? Well, I've been out of school a little longer than that. And I never liked being told what to read or when so I rarely actually finished a book in HS or college. One of my reading goals is to finally read what I said I did in school - so this is only a short list of those books that I've reread/finished in the past 25 years since college: A Separate Peace (Knowles), 1984 (Orwell), Great Expectations (Dickens), Metamorphosis (Kafka) ... I'm sure there are others.

Used or brand new?

No preference

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Yep - kind of odd that this was the author suggested for this question though, so I'm wondering why. Is something wrong with his books?

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

Also yep - but I prefer to read the book before I see the movie so I know what's going on in the movie. I really REALLY like The Handmaid's Tale series and am glad that I saw the series (seasons 1 and 2) before reading the book - it's a flip for me because the series helped explain what was going on in the book for me and I think I would have been lost in the book had I tried reading it first.

Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks included?

Julie and Julia, by Julie Powell - made me want to try to make some of the recipes. I do have Julia Childs' cookbook, but haven't tried anything from there yet.
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Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Ooh - this is why I always try to look at the posts in the Show Us Your Books linkup. I don't know if there's just one person on there that I take all of their book advice - it's more like a collection of books from everyone's posts that I try to remember when I go to the library. Lately, I'll open up the library's website along with the linkup and start requesting as I come across a book I want to read. Always a fun time when the requests come in all at the same time ... 

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g. outside of your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

True crime - I prefer to read fiction, but I read I'll Be Gone in the Dark and was quite surprised I liked it.
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BONUS - Fun book facts about me... 

Um ... not sure what to put here. 

I prefer paperbacks, then ebooks, then hardbacks. But prefer ebooks from the library, because ... germs. 

I don't like series and I really don't like that so many new authors are focusing on stretching their stories out to 3-4 more books. Stop. The first book would have to be freaking amazing for me to look for book 2.

There are books in every room of my house and I wouldn't want it any other way. 

I've read almost all of Stephen King's books

I can't do audiobooks because I'm constantly distracted. When I sit down with a book/Kindle, I focus on what I'm reading. An audiobook is, for me, like TV or radio - I can have it it on in the background for noise and do other things, but then I don't know what I just listened to. Even in the car, my mind wanders rather than focusing on the book being read. The only audiobooks I've been successful with were the Harry Potter books ... mainly because I have those stories memorized. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Reading Time - March

It's that time again ... I wasn't expecting to have many books read since the last SUYB - Feb 12 to Mar 12 is a mere 28 days and gone in a blink. However, our illustrious hosts of the monthly link-up added a bonus readathon (thank you again for my prize!). Mix that in with a few winter weather advisories and an unfortunate opportunity to miss another long run, and I was able to read a bit more than originally thought.

Be sure to check out the link-up with Steph or Jana to see what others have posted/read/recommended and let me know if you've read/liked/disliked any of the following.

Please note - the links are only to Goodreads and the off-chance that I actually put a review on there.

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The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
Not sure how this one came to be in my possession - I'm thinking it was a purchase from the Friends of the Library's book sale. It was really good though and I recommend it. I think I thought it'd be similar to The Bees by Laline Paull that was written from the bee's perspective - but, nope. Actually, I recommend The Bees too.

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On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
This is a standalone and only mentions the events of The Hate U Give a couple times, so don't feel like you have to have read THUG before you read this one. Read them both, but in whichever order you want. Just read them both. This one was just as good and as unputdownable.

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Mischling, by Affinity Konar
I borrowed this one from the library when I stopped by to pick up On the Come Up. An Auschwitz survivor was on the schedule to speak locally so the library had a table dedicated to the Holocaust. Being a Germanic Studies major/European History minor in college (still, why??), I stopped to see what books they were promoting and selected this one. It was OK, but I don't recommend it. If you have any interest in survivor stories, read one from an actual survivor - not a romanticized artsy version that was just too syrupy/mucky. Not really sure how else to describe it.

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The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
Ooh - this one was good and I'm going against personal belief by recommending you see the Hulu series first and then reading the book. I think if I had read this first and then saw the series, I'd be lost while reading. It was good - it really was, but it time-jumped around (much like the series did) and I was glad I had seen the show first to help explain what was going on and vice versa. And apparently there's a second book coming out this year called The Testaments. This was also in my personal collection but I kept skipping over it for something else.

Currently reading:
You, by Caroline Kepnes

Does anyone else's library do this?


Also, shout out to Kristen at See You In A Porridge ... I got an email from Amazon about expiring credits for ebooks and I knew to go to her Instastories to find some good deals. I haven't figured out if I can share ebooks (someone, please tell me if I can) so I'm pretty picky about what I spend those credits on since I'll likely have that book forever.

Also-also, I can't remember whose post I read that mentioned the Unread Shelf Challenge (if you're reading this, please let me know if it was your post last month!). This is definitely a challenge I can get behind and will be doing this year. I need to pare down my book stacks and this is a good motivator. In the three months of SUYB posts, I'm about 50-50 on reading my own unread books vs. reading library books. Not bad ... not bad at all ... of course, we've already bought books this year so the Unread Shelf stays about even. I figure if I can read just one book per month of what I already own, I'll do better than what I have in the past. Trying to find a balance between supporting my library and reading-then-donating my books to keep going with the decluttering.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Reading Time - February

Even though I'm no longer blogging, I'm still jumping in on Show Us Your Books with Steph and Jana. I thought I was off to a good start with reading in 2019 and even more so with the 24in48 readathon last month ... but life was already crazy, then it got crazier, and I haven't really done as much reading as I thought I had, but it's still more than before. Crazy times.

Anyhoo ... since my last book post:

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Dry, by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
Not to get into the debate on if climate change is real or not (it is), but this was a good read. YA Fiction about a drought in California reaching catastrophic proportions and what people do to survive ... apparently NOT leave the area, because then there wouldn't be drama or a book. Side note: A few years ago, I went on a field trip with my youngest where we learned there is a finite amount of water in the world. You can't create more water - what's already here on earth evaporates into the atmosphere and then develops into precipitation. Constant cycle. Maybe everyone already knew this, but I was near 40 when I learned this bit of info. I now do what I can to conserve water - stop leaks, turn off taps, shorter showers or use the water-saving feature.

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Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Well, this was NOT what I was expecting and I was blushing or skipping past parts. But it was still good and I would recommend it. Got this one from the library in time for the 24in48 readathon.

Hello, Sunshine

Hello, Sunshine, by Laura Dave
I found this one in one of my bookcases ... no idea where I got it from though and it's headed to the donation box for the Friends of the Library book sale. Quick read and it kept my attention. Main character is a YouTube/cable cooking star who gets 'outed' for not being who she said she is. Good reminder that social media is just selected snapshots of a person's life, not always true, not always accurate, not always the whole picture. Also read during the readathon.

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Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon
I borrowed this one from my daughter, who had recommended it. She had also seen the movie but we're very good about NO SPOILERS in our house, so I didn't know anything about the book, the movie, or the ending ... which I had guessed pretty quickly. It was still a good and very fast read about a girl allergic to literally everything. I vaguely remember the John Travolta movie (Boy in the Bubble) but not all the plot points -- not sure how similar this was though. Also reminded me of Bubble Boy on Seinfeld ...



Currently reading: The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

Be sure to jump over to the linkup and see what everyone else is reading.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Reading Time - January 2019

Show Us Your Books. Join the Link-Up! Talk books the 2nd Tuesday of Every Month

I finished out the year with some good books, though it helped that we were traveling during some of that time and wi-fi coverage was minimal (if any) in the Grand Canyon. Kicking it old school and thoroughly enjoying it until the kids started complaining.

Since last time ... (links just go to my Goodreads acct - I don't usually leave a review though)

There, There by Tommy Orange

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I had wanted to read this anyway and got it from the library during November's Native American History Month ... or let's celebrate turkey and stuffing and give thanks for Manifest Destiny and small pox. I actually finished it on the plane on our way to vacation ... which was mostly located on reservations. Basically, it was a timely book for me. I highly recommend, but I will say that each chapter is in a different POV and it took me a bit to keep the characters straight in my head. (library ebook)



A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron

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First off, didn't realize this was a sequel until I started reading it. I was worried that I should have read the first one, but this is a stand-alone. I will go back and find A Dog's Purpose though. Any book that has me ugly-crying within the first 30 pages should come with a warning. And being 1500 miles away from our doggos while I was reading this? Not good. But I loved this book and highly recommend it to any dog-lovers. I have no desire to see the movie the first book was based on - especially after the controversy that the actor-dogs may have been mistreated ... I can't handle that. I definitely came back home with more empathy? understanding? compassion? for the three pups who greeted us so enthusiastically on our return. (personal collection)


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Not really sure what I expected to get out of this but it wasn't what I thought it might be. It was a good book with some good insights, but I skipped over a lot of it. (ebook - own)

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I think this was an Amazon First Reads book - it's in my personal ebook collection, but I don't really remember where it came from. Good read though and I recommend it if you like psych thrillers. Apparently it's the first in a series ... because if a book isn't part of a series, is it really a book?


Be sure to check out Steph and Jana's link-up to see what other book nerds are reading. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Reading Time - December

Linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books. Didn't get much reading in this month due to overall busy-ness but quality over quantity, amiright? Also, I started 2018 with a Goodreads goal of 40 books and I have 7 to go with 20 days left in the year ... oh well. I hope to knock out a few more, especially during our travel days, but I'm not stressing about it. Comment below with what you've been reading or if you've read any of these, then check out the link-up and see what others are reading.

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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
As a native of Indianapolis, I'm embarrassed that this is the first Vonnegut I've read. Little bit science fiction, little bit autobiography, little bit dark comedy, little bit rock and roll. A fast read about Billy Pilgrim (a WWII POW who experienced the firebombing of Dresden, as did Vonnegut) and his life. So it goes.


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Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
I had had this one on my TBR for awhile and knew I had to read it after seeing the trailer on Netflix. Great story and highly recommended! Oh ... how different things might have been had I had the self-confidence of 16 year old Willowdean.

Flowers for Algernon
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Another re-read of a book that I read in high school. I didn't think anything about it at the time, but maybe because I have two high-schoolers now, I'm surprised my teacher assigned us this book in sophomore English. Another good story about imposing social norms on those who might be considered lacking - but are they? I wish there were an epilogue though - perhaps from Alice's POV after visiting Charlie at Warren State.

Currently reading: There There, by Tommy Orange


Show Us Your Books. Join the Link-Up! Talk books the 2nd Tuesday of Every Month

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Reading Time - November 2018

Because sitting on the couch and reading requires three dogs ... apparently.

Remember, this is a link-up with Steph and Jana, so be sure to click on their names, check out their main posts, and see what everyone else is reading/recommending/DNF'ing ...

Taking a much needed break from running (though contemplating a spring marathon in a new-to-me state) and the time that was spent doing training runs can now be spent on reading, while still avoiding finishing very old DIY projects that I still don't know what the end result was supposed to be.

So, since last month's post ...

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Dear Martin, by Nic Stone
Very very similar to The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. Very. This one takes place in Atlanta and is from a boy's perspective - but a LOT of similarities. I liked THUG better, but this one was also good ... of course, I'm speaking as a WASP-female who's not had any experience with being racially profiled. (ebook and a really quick read)

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Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall
This was a recommendation from a dear friend who read it in their book club earlier this year. Set in the 1960s in the deep south and focuses on a young runaway and how her eyes are opened to race issues going on in Mississippi and Tennessee. Highly recommend! (real book, borrowed from AKT)

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The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
Meh - it was OK. I mean, it had a decent story and didn't get political. I've never read anything from James Patterson ... or from Bill Clinton, for that matter ... so I don't know whose writing style I was reading. There's also a ghost writer who didn't get front cover billing (David Ellis) so it could be all his writing too. This one was a chore to read - but mainly because I kept running out of time on the library loans due to other books I was reading and other things going on IRL. First an e-book, then the real book, then the ebook again (even though my library stopped charging overdue fines for late real books, I felt guilty about keeping the real book to finish). And as word got out about the book, the wait list for both the real and e-books kept getting longer so I made sure I finished it on the third loan ...

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Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley - this had been on my 'currently reading' list for awhile and I was tired of seeing it, TBH. I had already read it a couple times (once in college and then a few years later when I attempted to reread/actually read the books I had been assigned in college but skimmed over) so this was an easy read ... which is why I didn't stick with it till the end when I started it. Already knew the ending and all that jazz. This was also the selection for a statewide library read to celebrate the 200th anniversary of its publication. (ebook in personal e-library)

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Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield - granted, this isn't the first time I've read this but I think it's the first time I've listed it on a SUYB post. It definitely helped get me in the mindset for long-distance running and realizing I could do this on a regular basis. Just wanted to list it in case anyone has been thinking about maybe running a full or a half and how to prepare for one. There are training modules in the back for if you want to run the entire time, or if you want to run more than walk, or if you want to walk more than run. I completed three full marathons on their run/walk program and I definitely recommend it! After completing #3 last week, I'm ready for either a new challenge or a new training program. (own copy - but recommended by Rebecca Jo)

Currently reading:
looking for recommendations ... and motivation to finish the house projects.

Books! (finally) - August

It's been a hot minute since I've written about books and joined in the monthly linkup. Well, it's been a hot minute, period. Th...