Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

I’m Not Missing [review]

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I’m Not Missing by Carrie Fountain
To be published by Flatiron Books on July 10, 2018
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
4.00 (as of 2018-06-14)
cw: underage drinking, consensual sex, sexual assault
disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

When Miranda Black’s mother abandoned her, she took everything—the sun, moon, and stars—and Miranda found shelter in her friendship with Syd, who wore her own motherlessness like a badge of honor: Our mothers abandoned us. We won’t go begging for scraps.

When Syd runs away suddenly and inexplicably in the middle of their senior year, Miranda is abandoned once again, left to untangle the questions of why Syd left, where she is—and if she’s even a friend worth saving. Her only clue is Syd’s discarded pink leopard print cell phone and a single text contained there from the mysterious HIM. Along the way, forced to step out from Syd’s enormous shadow, Miranda finds herself stumbling into first love with Nick Allison of all people and learning what it means to be truly seen, to be finally not missing in her own life.

I’m Not Missing is a beautiful contemporary YA romance that also tackles a handful of serious topics. From the beginning, I found it to be a compelling read and worked my way through it pretty quickly. I started it while I was on vacation and finished it soon after returning home. This will definitely make a nice summery beach read!

I really liked the main character, Miranda, because I related to her a lot. I’ve always been a bit of a hopeless romantic and her endless fawning over her crush reminded me of myself in high school and college. It seemed to me like a really accurate portrayal of teenage romance. Miranda also had her own unique quirks, like reading a book of saints every night before bed and reciting the Gettysburg Address when nervous. The book also demonstrated a really nice relationship between Miranda and her father. Miranda is latina and her father is white, so the story also delves a bit into how that has impacted Miranda’s life. The romance itself was cute and I enjoyed it. The love interest, Nick, was a nice boy and treated Miranda well. The author also wrote in a lot of affirmative consent, which I thought was fantastic.

Miranda’s best friend, Syd, is an interesting character because we get to see her in so many different lights. Before Syd runs away, Miranda holds her in such high regard. She seems to rely on Syd in a plethora of ways and thinks that Syd always knows what to do. After Syd leaves, this begins to change. Miranda is able to take a step back and to see Syd as she truly is. She’s also able to rely on herself more and to grow more independent as a person, making her own decisions instead of depending on others to make them for her.

Overall, this was a really great story and I loved reading it. I’d recommend it to all YA contemporary readers, in particular to folks who enjoy books that hit some serious issues alongside the fluff.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)

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Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

The Winter People [review]

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The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
Published by Random House Audio on February 11, 2014 
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Goodreads avg:
3.77 (as of 2018-06-19)
cw: child death, grief, gore, underage drinking/drug use

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

 

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter.

Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that has weighty consequences when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished. In her search for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked into the historical mystery, she discovers that she’s not the only person looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

 

Much like A Head Full of Ghosts, The Winter People is another audiobook I happened to pick up that I found myself completely enthralled by. My new methodology for finding audiobooks is to sort my TBR by random and to go down the list until I find a book that a) is available on audiobook and b) has a narrator that I like. I listen to the sample and if I like it, I download it and take off. It seems to be working fairly well for me.

The Winter People doesn’t fit neatly into any box. It’s a bit of horror, a bit of fantasy, a bit of historical fiction, and a bit of thriller. It actually has two narrators, as it switches not only between past and present but also between POVs within each time period. It’s hard to nail down, and the reader can’t even be entirely sure what’s happening until close to the end. I will say that it does a pretty good job of answering all your questions, though, so if you hate ambiguous endings you’ll probably like this one.

There are a fair amount of characters, but Jennifer McMahon does a good job of giving them all their own unique voices (well, the narrators probably help there too). I never really found myself mixing them up, and felt like they were all distinctly different people. My favorite is probably Sara Harrison Shea herself, in part because her narrator was unbelievably good. Both of the narrators were great, in fact. I also loved the setting. I have a soft spot in my heart for books set in New England, particularly when I know a lot of the places mentioned. This book took place mainly in Vermont, with a few flashbacks to scenes in Boston.

My biggest (and only, really) issue with this book was the ending. There was a scene that I was positive was the end and I was almost entirely satisfied with where it left off — but then it continued. In my opinion, this kind of caused the book to fizzle out and made for an awkward finish. It meandered just a bit too long. I also felt like things weren’t wrapped up entirely well. There were reasons given for everything that happened, but some of them felt so artificial. Like, it felt like the author couldn’t come up with an organic way to incorporate some stuff into the story but decided to keep it in anyway. Those minor reasons were why I knocked off half a star, they kind of pulled me out of the story I was until that point so invested in.

Overall, I thought this was an incredible read. Halfway through, I started adding more Jennifer McMahon books to my TBR and will definitely prioritize picking up something else by her. I highly recommend anyone with any interest pick this up. If you enjoy horror stories, particularly those with a historical setting, you’re going to love The Winter People.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Providence [review]

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Providence by Caroline Kepnes
To be published by Lenny on June 19, 2018 
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
3.54 (as of 2018-06-07)
cw: animal death, ableism, domestic abuse, cancer

Spoiler-free Review
An advanced copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

From the acclaimed author of YOU comes a novel that is part love story, part detective story, and part supernatural thriller.

Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other and their intense connection. But just when Jon is ready to confess the depth of his feelings, he’s kidnapped by his substitute teacher, a discredited scientist who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

After four years in captivity, Jon finally escapes, only to discover that he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to Providence to protect Chloe while he searches for answers. Across town from Jon, Detective Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus is fascinated by a series of strange deaths–young, healthy people whose hearts just . . . stop. Convinced these deaths are a series of connected, vigilante killings, he jeopardizes his job and already strained marriage to uncover the truth. 

With heart, insight, and a keen eye on human frailty, Kepnes whisks us on a journey through New England and crashes these characters’ lives together in the most unexpected ways, exploring the complex relationship between the powerful and the powerless, love and identity, self-preservation and self-destruction, and how the lines are often blurred between the two

 

I requested this title on Netgalley mainly because I saw that the main characters were from New Hampshire. I always want to read books that take place at least in part in places that I’ve lived. The plot also looked interesting, so I gave it a shot. I’m really glad I did because this ended up being a very good read.

People who live to know a sicko are very eager to tell you their story. There’s a pride, a sense of having survived something.

Caroline Kepnes is a great writer. This is the first work of hers that I’ve read, but immediately after finishing this, I added You to my TBR. She does a fantastic job of pulling the reader right into the story and creates interesting characters that you can really relate to. I really liked both Claire and Jon, as well as the relationship between them and how it changed over time. I also loved the Lovecraft references. I haven’t read much Lovecraft myself, but am really drawn to Lovecraftian stories.

When I die, if there is a place called hell, I will go there.

I did think, however, that the characters could have been given a little more complexity. Jon and Claire are both overwhelmingly “good” people and don’t really have any flaws (at least, none that they can control). I also didn’t really enjoy the addition of Eggs into the story. I understood how he functioned as far as the plot went, but felt like he didn’t add much to the story as a character. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t like him. He was constantly lying to his wife and essentially pretended that his autistic son didn’t exist. By the end there is some redemption, but I still really don’t think he deserved to be treated so well.

I hit the road, New Hampshire bound, I’m a typical Rhodie in the sense that I think we’re the best. In Massachusetts, you have all these sweet-toothed Massholes stuffing their face with ice cream covered in jimmies, all puffed up with self-righteousness they get out of that little rock down in Plymouth. Never mind Maine; try being a woman in that state, let me know how it works out. Vermont has the worst Italian food I ever had in my life. And New Hampshire, all you gotta know is that they take pride in rocks, granite, tax-free shopping, and bottle rockets, their handles of grain alcohol so they can go home and light themselves on fire.

Otherwise, this was a fantastic read. I almost missed my train stop multiple times while reading and I kept getting so sucked in that I wasn’t sure how I could put the book down. I may end up grabbing a physical copy of this for myself, but at the very least I will certainly recommend this book to others. This will be good for fans of thrillers, contemporary sci-fi pieces, and/or the writings of Lovecraft.

I settle on a little pink dress but then I remember Carrig’s family, the wall of them, why are you so dressed up? That should be the state fucking slogan of New Hampshire.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)

Bookworm Blogging, Not Books, Personal

200 Follower Giveaway!

200follows

I’m incredulous at the fact that I’ve finally hit 200 followers! I am so grateful to be part of this community and am so glad you’ve all chosen to join me on my blogging journey. To celebrate, I’ve decided to do a book giveaway! The prize will be any one book less than $20 on Book Depository. The giveaway is international, but only includes countries that Book Depository will ship to. In order to receive the prize, you have to be comfortable providing me with a shipping address.

There are several ways to enter! To earn entries you can follow me on twitter, tweet about the giveaway, and/or comment on this post. In order to officially enter, please use the rafflecopter information provided below. Good luck to everyone, and thank you again for your support! 🙂

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Books I Should Have Read Already

I pulled this suggestion off of Vivatramp’s 100 Book Blog Post Ideas list. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I’m going to sift through my TBR and share which books I should have read already!


The New Jim Crow
Pretty self-explanatory. This book shares some really important information and as a white person I feel compelled to educate myself on racism and what I can do about it more than I currently do.

On Writing
Everyone raves about this book and insists that every aspiring writer needs to read it. I’m not sure whether or not I consider myself an aspiring writer, but I am trying to write and I do like Stephen King.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue
I bought this off Amazon MONTHS ago so I could read my own copy and I STILL haven’t picked it up yet. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.

Redwall
Hey y’all, how did I miss out on this one in my youth????

Blankets 
I’ve been eyeing this one for yeaaars and somehow still haven’t picked it up. It looks gorgeous, though.


What about y’all? What books do you think you should’ve gotten to by now?

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(Covers courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Reviews, Bookworm Blogging

Horns [review]

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Horns by Joe Hill
Published by William Morrow on March 1, 2010 (originally 2009)
my rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Goodreads avg:
3.92 (as of 2018-06-05)
cw: homophobia, racism, rape, pedophilia, torture, pretty much anything you could think of

Spoiler-free Review

Goodreads | IndieBound | Author’s Website

Ignatius Perrish spent the night drunk and doing terrible things. He woke up the next morning with a thunderous hangover, a raging headache . . . and a pair of horns growing from his temples.

At first Ig thought the horns were a hallucination, the product of a mind damaged by rage and grief. He had spent the last year in a lonely, private purgatory, following the death of his beloved, Merrin Williams, who was raped and murdered under inexplicable circumstances. A mental breakdown would have been the most natural thing in the world. But there was nothing natural about the horns, which were all too real.

Once the righteous Ig had enjoyed the life of the blessed: born into privilege, the second son of a renowned musician and younger brother of a rising late-night TV star, he had security, wealth, and a place in his community. Ig had it all, and more—he had Merrin and a love founded on shared daydreams, mutual daring, and unlikely midsummer magic.

But Merrin’s death damned all that. The only suspect in the crime, Ig was never charged or tried. And he was never cleared. In the court of public opinion in Gideon, New Hampshire, Ig is and always will be guilty because his rich and connected parents pulled strings to make the investigation go away. Nothing Ig can do, nothing he can say, matters. Everyone, it seems, including God, has abandoned him. Everyone, that is, but the devil inside. 

 

Y’all I had NO idea what to expect going into this one. I got this as a gift in a recent exchange and had been meaning to read it for a while (I’m hoping to get through all of Joe Hill’s work within the next year or two). I hadn’t reread the blurb and hadn’t even seen the trailers for the movie, so didn’t really know what the plot would be, just that it involved, well, horns. Let me say right away that this book is not for the light-hearted. There are some… pretty messed up things going on. People do and say the most heinous things you can think of. So, keep that in mind if you’re thinking about picking this one up.

He threw the bible into the trumpet case as well. There had to be something in there, some useful tips for his situation, a homeopathic remedy you could apply when you came down with a bad case of the devil.

That said, this is incredibly well-written and compelling story about a man trying to solve the murder of the woman that he loves. He runs into a few snags — namely the fact that he’s the main suspect. Oh, and the horns growing out of his head. Which do come with a few side-effects that I don’t want to spoil for you. I liked how the story was layered, switching back and forth between past and present. In some books this ends up being jarring, but Joe Hill does it well here. He knew how to time it and used it to slowly bring the full story to light.

If you were in a boat and did not save a drowning man, you would burn in Hell for certain; yet God, in His wisdom, feels no need to use his power to save anyone from a single moment of suffering, and in spite of his inaction He is celebrated and revered. Show me the moral logic in it. You can’t. There is none. Only the devil operates with any reason, promising to punish those who wanted to make earth itself Hell for those who dare to love and feel.

If you’re a Joe Hill fan, you’ll probably like Horns. This was one I just couldn’t put down and I finished the last portion in a two-hour binge. I’d also recommend it for fans of horrors, thrillers, and mysteries, as it contains a little of each. The horror isn’t as much outright scary as it is unsettling, but I’d say that’s the most appropriate category to place it in.

She was innocent. All snakes were, of course.

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(Blurb and cover courtesy of Goodreads.)

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Currently Reading [tag]

I saw this tag over on Wendy’s blog a little while back and it looked fun, so I decided I’d do it too!

1) How many books do you usually read at once?

I used to only read two or three books at a time (a physical book and an eBook, and sometimes another one thrown in), but lately I’ve been reading ~8 books at a time! I know it’s not for everyone, but it helps me read more because I can just swap out books when I start to lag a little.

2) If you’re reading more than one book at a time, how do you decide when to switch books?

I have a spreadsheet (which I got from Rachel) that keeps track of how far into each book I am. My “goal” is 3% of each book per day, so usually I’ll read 20-25 min (or more, if I’m really into it!) of a book and switch, unless I’m way behind. Then I’ll try to spend more time with that book.

3) Do you ever switch bookmarks while you’re partway through a book?

Only if my first bookmark was something flimsy that feels like it’s going to fall out!

4) Where do you keep the book(s) you’re currently reading?

One in my bag, eBooks on my phone, and the rest stacked on the living room table.

5) What time of day do you spend the most time reading?

On a weekday, after work or on my bus ride to work in the morning. On a weekend, in the morning at a coffee shop.

6) How long do you typically read in one sitting?

It varies so wildly! I’d guess 50 pages, but that’s honestly a wild guess.

7) Do you read hardbacks with the dust jacket on or off?

Off! Unless it’s a library book.

8) What position do you mainly use to read?

Sitting upright, with my legs curled under me.

9) Do you take the book you’re currently reading with you everywhere you go?

One of them, at least!

10) How often do you update your goodreads progress on the book you’re currently reading?

I used to try to do it once a day per book, but since I’m reading SO many books at once, that’s at least a handful of updates a day. At this point, I only update the progress right before I DNF something (so I know how far I got) or after I finish it.


I tag anyone who wants to do this tag!!

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Bookworm Blogging, Monthly Wrap-Ups

November 2017 Wrap-Up

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Books:

  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. DNF.
  • Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich. DNF.
  • The Slow Regard or Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. 4/5 stars.
  • These Violent Delights by Victoria Namkung. 3/5 stars, review.
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins. 4/5 stars, review to come.
  • The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreason. 3/5 stars, review to come.
  • Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. 4/5 stars, review to come.
  • Like Water by Rebecca Podos5/5 stars, review to come.
  • Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block. 2.5/5 stars, review to come.
  • Strange Weather by Joe Hill. 5/5 stars, review to come.

Books read: 8
Books DNF’d: 2
Average Rating: 3.81

Movies:

  • 1922 [2017] directed by Zak Hilditch. 3/5 stars, review.
  • The Break-Up [2006] directed by Peyton Reed. Rewatch, 3/5 stars.
  • 13th [2016] directed by Ava DuVernay. 5/5 stars.
  • Lady Bird [2017] directed by Greta Gerwig. 5/5 stars, review.

Movies watched: 4
Average Rating: 4.00

Other Posts:

Reading Goal Progress:

This month was VERY productive for me as far as reading goes, thanks to a spreadsheet that my friend Rachel created. I might give this spreadsheet its own post, detailing how it’s helped me prioritize my reading to get more done! This puts me at 64 books for the year, which is 14 books ahead of my goal of 50 and at 128%. I’m thinking I’ll probably get another 8-10 read in December, I have a few graphic novels I’d really like to get to and I have some shorter novels on this month’s TBR!

Personal Highlights (aka a photo dump of things I did this month):

Thanks for reading! How was November for you? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

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Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

The Fall for Books Tag

Hey, I got tagged in another thing! This time by Rachel @ pace, amore, libri. I guess it’s a week of tags for me, oh well. 😉

THE RULES

  • Please link back to this post so I can see your answers!
  • Have fun!

One of the first books you fell in love with

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There are a zillion books I could put here, but when I think about reading into the night as a kid, I definitely think about The Boxcar Children. I absolutely loved this series!!

A book you knew you were going to love from the first page

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[heart eyes emoji] Emily Carroll’s writing and illustrations are INCREDIBLE so I knew immediately that I’d adore this.

A book you didn’t think you would love as much as you do

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I honestly picked up this collection of short stories on a whim because the eBook was on sale and it had a Neil Gaiman story in it and honestly it ended up being the best short story collection that I’ve literally ever read.

The character who will always have a place in your heart

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Daine from Wild Magic has been one of my favorite characters for years, since I first read the book. The series is a quartet and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it. I actually might be due for a reread soon…

Character you love on the page, but would never want to meet in real life

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I’m sure I’m the millionth person to say this, but: Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. He’s such an asshole, but on paper he’s such a loveable asshole.

Literary couple you will ship until the day you die

Y’all I’m so sorry, but… I don’t have an otp. There are plenty of ships that I love, but there are none that I am absolutely burning up about.

An author whose writing style you fell in love with

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Joe Hill! I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him so far.

A book recommended to you by a friend/family member that you quickly fell for too

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A friend suggested the Wool series to me and I think I read the entire thing in around a week… this also deserves a reread, for sure.

Piece of book-related merchandise that you had to own

I honestly… don’t have very much book-related merchandise! My best friend got me a Ravenclaw keychain when she went to Harry Potter World, so that’s probably the closest thing I can think of.

An author whose works you love so much that you auto-buy/borrow their new releases

Again… Joe Hill. And Stephen King. There’s a theme here.

I tag:

Wendy @ what the log had to say
Rachel @ Rachel Reading
Destiny @ Howling Libraries
Kathy @ Books & Munches
Elizabeth @ Mountains of Books

Book Tags, Bookworm Blogging

Where Do My Books Come From?

This is such a fun meme, I love it! It was originally created by Laura @ Reading in Bed and I pulled it from Rachel @ Pace, Amore, Libri. You go through the last 30 books you’ve read and note where they came from. Let’s see if I can actually remember where all of these came from…

1. Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson. Library.
2. At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen. Postal Book Club.
3. Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman. Library.
4. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Siefvater. Physical ARC.
5. Fen: Stories by Daisy Johnson. Library.
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Gift.
7. Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood. Postal Book Club.
8. Warcross by Marie Lu. Library.
9. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Purchased from Amazon, eBook.
10. The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy. Library.
11. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Vol. 1 by Hayao Miyazaki. Gift.
12. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan. Gift.
13. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix. Postal Book Club.
14. Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz. Purchased from Amazon, eBook.
15. A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett. Library.
16. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera. eARC.
17. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. Library.
18. Dancing After Hours by Andre Dubus. Purchased at used book sale.
19. Lost at Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley. Gift.
20. The Education of a Coroner by John Bateson. eARC.
21. A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. Library.
22. Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka. eARC.
23. The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Library.
24. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
Library.
25. The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud. Library, eBook.
26. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey. Gift.
27. The Stranger by Albert Camus. Library, eBook.
28. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Gift.
29. The Love that Split the World by Emily Henry. Purchased from Amazon, eBook.
30. Policing the Black Man edited by Angela J. Davis. eARC.

Stats:

  • 4/30 (13%) Purchased by Me
  • 12/30 (40%) Borrowed from Library
  • 3/30 (10%) From Postal Book Club
  • 5/30 (17%) ARCs (1 physical, 4 eARCs)
  • 5/30 (17%) Gifts
  • 9/30 (30%) eBooks

This was pretty cool! I was actually expecting more library books, and more eBooks, so I guess my unofficial estimates were a little off. The books were all purchased prior to May, which is around when I got my library card. I’ve been surprisingly good about not spending money on books, although I did buy the hardcover version of Strange Weather at the Joe Hill signing (definitely worth it) and I do have a short list of books I am positive I want to own a physical copy of.

Please ping back if you do this, because I wanna see everyone else’s stats, too! It might be cool for me to start putting these stats into my monthly wrap-ups, what do you think?

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