July Book Haul!

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So I’m starting to see a pattern here–I always lie about how many books I’m going to buy in a given month. Every month I think, hey, I bought a lot of books last month, maybe I should take it easy this month. And then Book Outlet has some books on my wish list on sale, or there’s an enticing new release, or there’s a library book sale with prices just too good to resist. So instead of pretending I’m going to limit my book buying, I decided I really need to commit myself better to #readmyowndamnbooks!

I only buy books I’m really excited about reading, but I get distracted by library books, audiobooks (which I never buy), and the occasional ebook, and only 26 books out of the 58 books I’ve read this year have been on my physical TBR shelf. This ratio needs to improve, stat. And it will, because I am SO EXCITED about all of the books I bought in July!

So here’s what I bought in July:

ConfessionsBinti (Binti, #1)milk and honeySecond Star

In the spirit of #readmyowndamnbooks, I already finished all four of these in the same month I bought them! So I’m off to a good start with this haul. I’m hoping to read at least a few more in August, and I will be talking more about these ones in my July reading wrap-up post. To summarize: they were all great. I would literally recommend all four of these books, and I’m so glad I found them this month. Thanks, Book Outlet and B&N coupons!

HomegoingVicious (Vicious, #1)Tender MorselsThe Philosopher Kings (Thessaly, #2)

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I have heard countless amazing things about this book; it’s been all over the blogs and Bookstagram. Initially I was going to wait until it came out in paperback, and then I got some B&N coupons in the mail and decided it was a sign. Plus, I couldn’t wait any longer and didn’t want to be left out of the amazingness that I have heard about this book. This is at the top of my August TBR.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I see this book on my Bookstagram feed multiple times per day, and as I have yet to pick up a V.E. Schwab book, I had to jump on this when it showed up for a good price on Book Outlet. It’s fantasy, and focuses on two former best friends with some type of superpowers, I think? I’m not really too clear on the plot, but I am excited to get into this next month as well.

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan – this is a dark fairytale retelling I read about on Flavorwire, and when it came in the mail I immediately started skimming the first chapter. And…it’s one of the few books in this haul that I’m now sort of hesitant about, as the first chapter was very heavy on sexual violence and I’m concerned this book may get too disturbing for me. I’ll definitely give it another try, but I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

The Philospher Kings by Jo Walton – this is book 2 in Jo Walton’s Thessaly trilogy, which deals with the premise of the Greek goddess Athena setting up a “Just City” outside of the normal course of time and populating it with teachers from various times throughout history to educate students. I don’t want to spoil anything from the first book (which is called The Just City) but after the ending, I’m very intrigued where the plot will go next. And I love anything Greek mythology-related, so this series was a must-read for me.

A Tale for the Time BeingSome Kind of Fairy TaleRadianceA Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – I’ve heard nothing but good things about this Man Booker Prize nominee that follows the stories of two (maybe three?) women.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce – I think this was one of the very first books I added to my to-read shelf on Goodreads, and I finally found a copy! It’s about a man whose missing sister returns after 20 years with a mystery surrounding her. Also, the blurb on the back compares Joyce to both Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente – I’m so interested in Valente’s writing, and this one, which is supposedly somehow both about Old Hollywood and space travel, sounds especially intriguing.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – Another book that I think anyone has read except for me! This one involves multiple magical Londons and it’s one that’s been so hyped I was reluctant to read it. But then I changed my mind…

Vicious Circle (Persephone Alcmedi, #1)DuplexElect Mr. Robinson for a Better WorldThe Brides of Rollrock Island

Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson – this is a UF/PNR read that I really know nothing about, but I haven’ t found a new good UF series in awhile, so I’ll give it a shot. This is another genre I’m really picky about, so we’ll see.

Duplex by Kathryn Davis – this is a short novel set in the suburbs where magic starts to intrude on a young married couple’s life (I think?) and it’s supposed to be amazing.

Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World by Donald Antrim – I believe this is a sort of creepy dystopian read set in a small town; it’s another short read I’ve had my eye on for awhile.

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan – I actually had no idea this was YA when I bought this. It’s about a sea witch who brings men in her small village magical brides from the ocean, and the bond between the two somehow changes both of them.

LailahOf Bees and MistSweetbitterFangirl

Lailah by Nikki Kelly – this is a YA read that involves angels, vampires, and a love triangle. This could be really great or really terrible, but either way, I’m reading it.

Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan – I just picked this up at a used bookstore that popped up in my mall where Hollister used to be. It was totally a cover buy, and here’s what Goodreads says: “Of Bees and Mist is an engrossing fable that chronicles three generations of women under one family tree and places them in a mythical town where spirits and spells, witchcraft and demons, and prophets and clairvoyance are an everyday reality.” Sounds great!

Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler – this book about a young twenty-something working in a fancy restaurant has gotten a ton of hype, and I found an ARC at that same used bookstore and couldn’t resist.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve already read and loved this book, and wanted my own copy for cozy winter rereading.

 

I can’t wait to get reading! What books did everybody buy in July?? Let me know and feel free to link up!

 

 

Pokemon Go Book Tag

Pokemon-Go-Book-Tag

This adorable tag was created by Read at Midnight (https://readatmidnight.com/2016/07/18/pokemon-go-book-tag/) and all of the images are hers. It is seriously the cutest tag I have ever seen and I couldn’t resist!

Fun fact: I played Pokemon Yellow back when I had a Gameboy Color 🙂

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My starter Pokemon is Squirtle because I love water Pokemon 🙂 but my starter books were definitely the Animorphs series by K.A. Applegate, which started my obsessive reading and love for science fiction. I read a lot of books before those, sure, but Animorphs was special.

Pokemon-Tag02Pikachu

Pride and Prejudice. I just do not get tired of that story. And Pikachu is adorable.

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The Raven Boys…sorry everyone! I got really tired of the series at the beginning of book 3 😦

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I didn’t expect to like it (typically I like more unique fantasy) but it just worked really well.

Pokemon-Tag-05-Snorlax

I typically like really long books, but they are definitely a huge time commitment. I haven’t picked up War and Peace yet for that reason…I have to be willing to devote all of my reading time for weeks and weeks and it’s hard to commit!

Pokemon-Tag06-Gengar

I’m trying to think of a book that kept me up in fear and I’m drawing a blank. But I do remember staying up until 3 a.m. ugly-crying to finish The Fault in Our Stars.

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Katniss and Peeta, probably. I really like their relationship and how they balance each other out.

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The Shatter Me series! Once I started I could not stop, and I love the romance in this series.

Pokemon-Tag09-Eevee

The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. I’ve read all of the spin-offs so far (the Andrea and Dali novellas, the short stories, the Curran POVs) and I heard a rumor there is going to be a Hugh-centric spin-off novel (which initially started as a joke) that I’ll totally pick up if/when it ever gets published. Ilona Andrews creates such rich worlds and lovable characters that it’s impossible not to want to read everything about them.

Pokemon-Tag14-Magikarp

The A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas. I hated the Throne of Glass series, so I was surprised how good her other books were.

Pokemon-Tag12-Legendary

All of the books I keep seeing by V.E. Schwab, mainly Vicious and A Darker Shade of Magic. I see these books EVERYWHERE and it seems like literally everyone has read them already; I was getting really tired of it but then they both went on sale on Book Outlet, and suddenly I’m really excited to finally read them.

Pokemon-Tag15Mew-MewTwo

I’d love to own all of the Penguin Clothbound Classics one day.

Pokemon-Tag10-Egg

I can’t wait to pick up Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi–I’ve heard it’s incredible, which is all the more impressive since it’s a debut novel.

Pokemon-Tag11-Lure-Module

I have a bunch: N.K. Jemisin, Ilona Andrews, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood…

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Last year we found out that the release date of White Hot, the sequel to Ilona Andrews’ Burn for Me, was pushed back by two years, so I’ve been pretty frustrated about that. I’m also anxiously awaiting The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss. And it feels like I’ve been waiting for The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin forever, but it finally comes out next month! 🙂

 

I tag….anyone who wants to do this tag!

 

#24in48 Readathon Wrap-Up

 

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And….my second #24in48 is done!

Honestly, this readathon was awesome. I enjoyed literally every book I read during the challenge, and I’d recommend them all. I went into this weekend with two goals, both of which I accomplished: to read for at least 12 hours, and to read at least 3 of the books on my TBR. I had so much fun on Bookstagram and Twitter seeing everyone’s reading progress and getting new TBR ideas; the social aspects of these readathons can really be the best part. Except that the books were also fantastic.

Here are my stats:

Books finished: 6

  • 2 graphic novels
  • 1 novella
  • 1 novelette (which to me seemed like a short story, but it’s referred to as a novelette, so I’ll go with that)
  • 1 book of poetry
  • 1 YA novel

Books read, but not finished: 2

  • 1 audiobook
  • 1 novel

Total time spent reading: almost 13 hours

I finished these:

Binti by Nnedi OkoraforSix Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane AndersSaga, Volume 6 by Brian K. VaughanBitch Planet, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnickmilk and honey by Rupi KaurSecond Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Favorite book of the readathon: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This was so close to being a five-star read for me, but just missed the mark. I love this style of poetry – Kaur writes short poems in free verse that have a huge amount of emotional impact. I was close to crying throughout this poetry collection, and I reread each poem about two or three times to get the full effect.

Biggest surprise of the readathon: Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel. I was nervous about this one since I have such a bad track record with YA (I’m picky! And usually I don’t like realistic/contemporary YA!) but it was absolutely what I was in the mood for, and I felt it was really well done. YA retellings of classic stories can be really good or really terrible, and I liked how this one was handled; it retained certain aspects of the Peter Pan story while still remaining its own thing.

(Longer reviews of both of these, and all my other #24in48 reads, to come in my July wrap-up post.)

And I’m still reading:

ConfessionsThe Jane Austen Book Club

My audiobook for the readathon, The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, was a very last-minute addition that worked out better than I thought it would. I initially mean to start the audiobook of The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson during the challenge, but I had no idea that it’s written in this stream of consciousness style and I, having a hard time with audiobooks in general, was completely lost within the first few minutes. I absolutely will be returning to this book, but now I know that it will need to be read in physical form instead. Meanwhile, The Jane Austen Book Club is pretty good, if not amazing, and I’d like to watch the movie after I finish it (and possibly count this towards the Read Harder challenge).

I also started Confessions by Kanae Minato, which so far is AWESOME, and I wish I’d started it earlier in the Readathon–I feel like this would have been great to read in one sitting, but I started it way towards the end and was tired.

 

Now that the readathon is over, I’m getting excited about my August TBR and Bout of Books. How did everyone do with #24in48, if you were participating? Let me know and feel free to link to your wrap-up!

 

 

#24in48 Readathon Day 1 Updates

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Honestly, the first day of #24in48 went a lot better than I thought it would. I went in with very low reading expectations because I knew I had to work this morning, and I also had concert tickets to an outdoor musical festival that lasted most of the day. However, I was still able to sneak in some reading (a little over 5 hours!). The books I finished were all shorter works (a novella, a graphic novel, and a short story) and I also started a new audiobook that I’m really enjoying. Tomorrow I’m expecting to read from some longer books compared to today; there are three in particular that I have my eye on, and I’ll have to see which I’m in the right mood for. I think I’m absolutely going to meet my tentative goal to read for 12 hours during the readathon (I knew going in I’d never hit 24, and that’s OK!) and I’m really looking forward to some quality reading/relaxing time after a crazy work week and crazy day today.

So here are my stats:

# of books finished: 3

Binti by Nnedi OkoraforSaga, Volume 6 by Brian K. VaughanSix Months, Three Days

Audiobook time: 2 hours

Total time spent reading: 5.17 hours

So here’s what I finished on Day 1 of #24in48:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – 4 stars

Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – 4 stars

Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders (short story) – 3.5 stars

And I read from these, but haven’t finished them yet:

The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (audiobook)

 

How is everyone’s readathon going so far? Let me know!

24 in 48 Readathon: TBR and Game Plan

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It’s time for the 24 in 48 Readathon again!! *bookish party* You can sign up and get the details here: https://24in48.com/

I participated in #24in48 for the first time this winter and really enjoyed it; 24 in 48 is like a slightly extended and more flexible version of Dewey’s and it’s very low-pressure. The goal is to read for 24 hours within a 48-hour period, but really, you just read as much as you can and enjoy all of the social aspects of the challenge. I actually did pretty well last time; despite the fact that I entered the readathon on a whim, I finished The Just City by Jo Walton and read about 400 pages of The Wise Man’s Fear. You can find my post from last time here: https://beachesandbooks.wordpress.com/2016/01/19/24-in-48-reading-challenge/.

#24in48 runs from July 23-24, which has the makings of a great bookish weekend. This time around (of course) I have some obstacles: I’ll be working Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon I have concert tickets to see several bands at a summer music festival. (Mostly I’m going to see AWOLNATION; I love them and have never seen them live.) So I’m planning on fitting in as much reading as I can Saturday evening and Sunday.

I tried to be strategic with my TBR stack by picking mostly shorter books, graphic novels, and YA, which seem to work better for me during readathons. I also threw in a of standalone short story that I have on my Kindle. My goal is to finish at least 3 of these during the weekend, but I think that depending on my choices I can definitely exceed that goal. One of the things I like about readathons is that if I don’t finish certain books during a given challenge, I carry them over to the next one. So the books I don’t finish here will likely be on my TBR for the next Bout of Books in August 🙂

Saga, Volume 6Six Months, Three DaysThe Complete PersepolisBinti (Binti, #1)Second StarEleanor & ParkBitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machinemilk and honey

So here’s what I’m going to attempt to read during the Readathon, ranked from most to least likely to actually read them:

Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – if nothing else, this is the book I will finish during #24in48. Saga is the only graphic novel series that I follow regularly; I love its heart and creativity. Luckily, I was first in line to put a hold on this at my library, so I snapped it right up.

Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders – Anders is the author of All the Birds in the Sky (which I read earlier this year) and the former editor of io9.com, one of my favorite sites. This is her Hugo-award-winning novelette that I broke down and bought on ebook after the price finally dropped. It’s very short and about two people who can both see the future, but in different ways.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – for some reason, they do not have this novella at my library, or I’d have already read it. I found it on BookOutlet.com, and it finally arrived today 🙂 It’s very tiny, which means very doable for the readathon. It won the Nebula and was nominated for both the Hugo and Locus awards, and it sounds like science fiction with a focus on interactions between diverse societies, which is my preferred type of scifi.

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel – So I used to be a big fan of the TV show Once Upon a Time, and during the Neverland season I started searching for Peter Pan-inspired YA to read. I stumbled upon Unhooked, which I wasn’t able to get into but may try again another time, and Second Star, which sounds like a retelling where all of the Peter Pan characters are surfers and there is a love triangle. I am really interested to see how the author pulls this off; it could either be great or really terrible.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur – this is a poetry collection that’s been getting a ton of buzz; I was inspired to snag this at Barnes&Noble after someone posted one of the poems on Bookstagram. The poems are very short yet full of emotion, which I like.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – I actually saw the movie version of this graphic novel a few years ago (in French, in college, at an indie movie theater. It was a very hipster time for me.) or I probably would have read it sooner. It’s about a girl growing up in Iran during the revolution, and the story was so well told in the movie that I felt I wanted another look.

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick – another graphic novel! I may or may not be in a graphic novel mood during #24in48, so we’ll see how many of these I end up reading. I keep hearing about this on different blogs; it’s a dystopian, feminist graphic novel set in a prison for noncompliant women.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell – this is the only Rainbow Rowell book I have not read yet; I’ve been avoiding it because realistic YA isn’t usually my thing. But Rainbow Rowell is wonderful, and I’ve liked every book she’s written so far, even when I thought I wouldn’t (I thought I’d be really bored by Landline, but it was actually very sweet). Not sure if I’ll have time to get to this during the challenge; it may end up being a Bout of Books read instead, but it’s definitely happening this year.

 

I can’t wait to jump into all of these! I’m tempted to start reading some of them now, but I’m going to resist. Is anyone else participating in #24in48??? Feel free to link to your TBRs!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books Set Outside the U.S.

IMG_1574Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish (http://www.brokeandbookish.com/).

It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This time it’s books set outside the U.S. I tried to do this theme justice, but it also highlighted a lot of books I need to get to on my TBR.

This week’s theme is difficult–are we talking real countries only or do made-up worlds count? I’m going to take this at face value and not include books set in outer space/fantasy realms/post-apocalyptic reorganized societies. I’m not going to discount SFF entirely for the list, but I’m making a rule for myself that the books need to be set in countries that actually exist. (Wow. I just made this way more difficult for myself.) I also did not count books that are set partially in the U.S. and partially in other countries (like Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu, both of which I really enjoyed.) Now that I’ve made the challenge more challenging, here are some books set outside the U.S. that I highly recommend you add to your TBRs!

My Brilliant Friend (The Neapolitan Novels, #1)

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (Italy) – fascinating in-depth portrait of female friendship and also of tumultuous 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s Naples.

The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (India) – I read this so long ago, but it was absolutely amazingly written.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (England) – of course.

Euphoria

Euphoria by Lily King (New Guinea) – this is the story of three anthropologists in a love triangle, loosely based on a true story.

The Passion

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson (France/Russia/Italy) – gorgeous short novel about love and obsession.

Wide Sargasso Sea

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (Jamaica) – feminist reinterpretation of Jane Eyre‘s memorable “madwoman in the attic.”

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami (Japan) – surrealist, fantastic story about a man searching for his missing wife.

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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Colombia) – epic family saga featuring magical realism that spans generations

The Girl in the Road

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne (Indonesia/Ethiopia/Indian Ocean) – creative story of two women on separate but interconnected journeys in a near-future setting.

Reading Lolita in Tehran

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (Iran) – gorgeously written memoir framed by books.

And, since I’m thinking about it, here are 10 (OK, 12) books set outside the U.S. that are high on my TBR list:

Midnight's ChildrenThree SoulsAnna KareninaLagoonA Tale for the Time BeingDeathless (Leningrad Diptych, #1)1Q84Half of a Yellow SunA Brief History of Seven KillingsThe Palace of IllusionsThe VegetarianThe Lake

Have you guys read any of these? Feel free to link me to your TTT below!

BTW, I’m sooooo excited for #24in48 this weekend. TBR post to come (as soon as my latest BookOutlet.com purchase gets here).

 

 

 

 

WWW Wednesday: July 13th

IMG_1970Random stack of some of my favorite books.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Taking On a World of Words (https://samannelizabeth.wordpress.com/). You answer the 3 W’s: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? What do you think you’ll read next?

Things have been crazy and I was out of town for a bit, so I haven’t been posting much lately, but I’m back! I’ve been really enjoying reading outside with the gorgeous summer weather, and I’m definitely looking forward to the #24in48 readathon, which starts in a little over 2 weeks. Is anyone else participating?

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What are you currently reading?

Men We ReapedThe QuickBlue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3)

My current audiobook is still Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward; I actually own this audiobook (I almost never buy audiobooks) so I had it on pause for a bit while I finished some library checkouts. It’s devastating and powerful, and so beautifully written. I’ve also had Blue Lily, Lily Blue on pause; I just really haven’t been in a Raven Cycle kind of mood lately. I really do want to finish the series, but I need a break from it right now. And I just started The Quick by Lauren Owen; all I really know about it is that the premise involves vampires in Victorian London, which is right up my alley. I’ve heard really mixed things about this book, and it has a low rating on Goodreads, but I really like the writing style and atmosphere so far. One of my absolute favorite books (The Magicians by Lev Grossman) has equally bad reviews and a low Goodreads rating, so I try not to put too much stock in that.

What did you recently finish reading?

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (The Neapolitan Novels, #3)The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksGods Behaving BadlyShrill: Notes from a Loud Woman

So many things!!! So I finally finished Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, the third book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels; the quality of the writing remains fantastic and I am so anxious to see where Lila’s and Lenu’s stories go next. I finished 2 (!) audiobooks recently, which is a LOT for me (I’ve posted before about my audiobook struggles) and I really enjoyed both of them. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was really informative, and I feel like it’s important for everyone to know Henrietta’s story; I do agree with other reviews I’ve seen that I could have done with less of the author inserting herself into the story. I thought that Shrill by Lindy West was funny but extremely raw and true; I knew nothing about this audiobook and picked it up solely due to bookstagrammers’/book bloggers’ recommendations, so thanks, guys! I also finished Gods Behaving Badly a few days ago; it wasn’t amazing but was a fun and funny satire of Greek mythology.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The ArgonautsThe Story of the Lost Child (The Neapolitan Novels, #4)Lagoon

I’ve been hearing amazing things about The Argonauts on book blogs and Bookstagram, so I went ahead and bought the audiobook to listen to next. I definitely will be picking up the final Ferrante book, The Story of the Lost Child, soon, but first I need to prepare myself for the emotional onslaught I know it will be. The amazing-sounding Lagoon is absolutely coming up next when I finish one of the physical books I’m currently reading. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what I’ll read for the 24 in 48 Readathon (July 23-24!) but that’s still 2 weeks away so I don’t want to post my readathon TBR picks yet.

 

What has everybody been reading lately???