July Rewind

 

MY JULY READS

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Ah…this one…this was my lowest rated read of the month, it had a nice idea just not my style.

 

 

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Total Tally: 33 Books Read this Month

 

 

Favorite Posts from around the book blogger-verse

 

There was so much to pick from and I really enjoyed a lot of the reviews I read this month more than anything else but I’ve limited myself to the posts above!

 

What I’ve Posted

 

 

I had a lot of fun attending an author talk at my local Waterstones with William McIntyre, I’ve booked my tickets for the Edinburgh Book Festival, as well as a ticket to go here a certain Jay Kristoff talk in Glasgow in September.

I was also so honored to be nominated and in the running for best new book blogger for the awesome bba [book blogger awards] and just being on the list has meant so much to me! ❤

We are still waiting to hear when we can move into our house, which is driving me nuts, and I actually got rid of more books finally. I’ve got a few more blog posts in August but you’ll notice the number is not nearly as much as June and July as summer starts to wind down. I hope everyone’s had a great July!

Mini-Review Day!

Hey guys!

Haha, I did more donating than shopping this weekend, but I’ll have our charity shop finds up next Sunday.

Today I felt like doing some mini-reviews with a few of the books I’ve read this month, and expect my wrap up post on the 31 to have a very long list of books.

 


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GoodReads:

“The Wind Softly Murmurs” is for anyone who has ever grieved over the passing of a loved one. These poems arose from the poet’s efforts to resolve the grief that followed the death of her parents. This book reflects her transformative journey that began while she was immersed in her parent’s love. Her progress was suspended at their deaths, but she ultimately recovered through the process of writing. These profound, lyrical poems ask us to contemplate our own lives and perceptions in order to move towards healing and a deeper spirituality. They urge us to meditate on death, loss, family, love, eternal life, and renewal. They encourage us to embrace change, as it ultimately leads to evolution and new life. The poet hopes this uplifting message of eternal life and renewal will bring solace to the readers, nurturing their souls in their bereavement. Throughout our lives, there is loss. As we age, the losses seem to come more frequently. It always hurts, but there is value in the pain. With every loss that is handled in the right spirit, we find ourselves a little stronger.

My Review

**I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for my honest review.**

One doesn’t expect such prose in this day and age on the manner of grief in poetry but Sharon Arthur achieves a mythical and spiritual journey for the grieving in her poetry. The poems are divided into sections, and she shares with the reader words that have come to her from the loss of her own parents. One doesn’t need to lose a parent though to identify with Arthur, simply know the feeling of grief.

The poems are beautiful and haunting and the call to the age of mythology in them makes for a powerful read and I haven’t seen such talent in a ‘new’ poet in quite a long time. -My GoodReads Review

And just to expand on that, this was poetry that I could really identify with, it wasn’t just pretty and lyrical, it was emotional -and without being overwhelming for me-. I felt a connection to Arthur’s words and I know this will be a poetry book I will revisit, she hit the nail on the head with keeping the length just perfect, you can read it in a sitting or pick one a day and it will still be impactful. I was very happy to read a poetry book and if you’re looking for some poetry to read, I’d recommend this book.

 


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GoodReads:
The Girl Who Became a Goddess is a tribute to the childhood stories of Theresa Fuller who has experienced multiple cultures and learned to love them all. These are tales passed on from generation to generation, some to delight, some to terrify, all to enlighten. 

A FOOLISH ANIMAL DISCOVERS THAT THE RAINFOREST IS A DANGEROUS PLACE. 

As a girl, a mother, and a teacher, Theresa retells her favorite folktales through the lens of her own life experiences in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, putting a unique spin on ageless classics. 

A YOUNG BOY IS WILLING TO SACRIFICE EVERYTHING FOR HIS FAMILY. 

The Girl Who Became a Goddess is a love letter to a young girl from the adult she has become. 

My Review

-Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review-

This was a lovely collection of fanciful folklore tales, some with the old ‘Aesop’s fables’ morals at the end [though this is not inspired by Aesop or related, just an example to help]. Fuller gives us a great introduction into folklore that is outside of the usual tales we grow up hearing of or knowing about in the Western World, such as Aesop’s Fables. Fuller also makes this quite personal, giving her version of stories that she grew up with and as folklore is steeped in such an oral tradition, many people can know the same story in many different ways. I really enjoyed each little story and the glimpses into these other worlds of Folklore, my only complaint is that I wish there would have been more. I loved this collection and hope Fuller decides to do something like this again.

I rounded this up to four because I truly loved reading it, it just would have been great if there had been more. These were gorgeous tales told in such a great way, but it ran out all too quickly for me while reading it. </3

 


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GoodReads:
The Second World War is drawing to a close, but the world is far from safe. Left to fend for themselves, women and children are forced out of their homes in East Prussia to make way for the advancing victors. As the Russian soldiers arrive, the women know that they are still very much in danger, and that for them, the fight for survival is only just beginning.

Facing critical food shortages and the onset of a bitter cold winter without heat, the women send their children into the nearby forests where they secretly cross the border into Lithuania, begging the local farmers for work or food to take back home to their waiting families. Along the way the children find cruelty, hardship and violence, but also kindness, hope, and the promise of a new and better future.

Based on meticulous research, this stunning and powerful debut novel by Alvydas Šlepikas tells for the first time the story of the ‘wolf children’ and the measures many families were forced to take in order to survive.

My Review

The subject matter alone proves the book is worth a read, especially today after so much time has passed and history becomes clouded.

How quick we are to forget the true scope of just how many victims war can leave, especially in one such as WWII. Though a hard read, due to the events described and based on true stories, it was a well thought out, meaningful and sadly brilliant novel.

Anyone deeply interested in history/WWII and not adverse to reading about the horrors and hardships of the children left behind from war should give this book a chance.

Honestly, this was a hard read but again because of the subject matter. I have no regrets reading this but it does just grip your heart and try to rip it in two. These stories are based on true accounts of the ‘wolf kinder’ and I appreciate what the author did in bringing those stories into the spotlight. It’s all too easy to forget the unseen victims of war, and then again we tend to forget the ones right in front of us anyway but I felt this was an important book to read and review.

-The formatting did not properly divide chapters in the eARC which could cause some confusion when reading as it seems to jump about, but I’m unsure if the problem is fixed on the final copy. Thank you to OneWorld Publications and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.-

 


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GoodReads:
In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

My Review

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

An endearing novel that captures the heart from Callahan. This book was everything I wanted and more, it was what I needed. She delves into the very heart of Joy, exposing her in a way that you forget she’s writing fiction. The spirit and character of Joy is complex and wonderful just as is her counterpart, C.S. Lewis himself (or Jack as he is known).

Joy has a journey that takes us through most of her adult life, the pain she goes through, the poverty and spiritual healing and love, all of it is tantamount to, well, becoming Mrs. Lewis. This was the definition of a spiritual journey and for those who forget C.S. Lewis was quite a spiritual man himself, he helped Joy through her journey and in return realized that there was love for him yet.

Honestly, I love Callahan’s style, I love her works, and this is no exception. Once more she’s knocked it out of the park with capturing the essence of the author and most importantly, the woman in his life, who was an author herself, successful in her own right. This was like chicken soup for the soul, where it’s more love and philosophy and the thought of what’s out there than an in your face Christian novel. If you’re feeling you need a bit of an inspiration read and don’t mind the religious philosophy of it all, well, I recommend this one.

 

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GoodReads:
Her tribe is shattered. Her parents are gone.

When eight-year-old Samara faces the capture of her tribe, an unimaginable power awakens within her. Even as this magic threatens to consume her, a disembodied voice intervenes, offering guidance and helping her control these newfound abilities.

Meanwhile, Samara’s father chases his wife’s captors across an unfamiliar terrain. But can Orin find his wife in time to save her? Will Samara learn to control her power and reunite with her family? And who is the mysterious entity traveling with her?

Find out in . . .

The Unfettered Child

My Review

The author gave me an eBook of this in exchange for my honest review.

This had a bit of essence of Dune to it as far as writing style went and I loved that. Sahd gives us an intriguing world, and he casually gives us world-building without going too deeply and this works for the purpose of this story which at its heart is about a few characters and the connections they have, with each other and with magic in some way.

Young Samara was a good protagonist, I wish I would have connected more to her, I did feel there was a lack of connection between myself as the reader and the characters, which was unfortunate as the rest of the novel is really great.

The elves are super intriguing and I feel like it was nice to have them shown in a different light. (Not that I don’t love my LotR elves, but it doesn’t hurt to have some variety!)

Orin was the one I felt most sympathetic toward but at times I felt it was perhaps him who had magic considering how he survived compared to others who seemed to fall down dead from a 1/3 of the things he did. Still, he was a good character and I enjoyed reading about him almost more than I did Samara.

Overall there’s some fantastic ideas and some great talent peeking through this novel, it’s going to be exciting to see his novels grow because I have no doubt he’ll grow in his writing and would definitely read more of his books.

 

There we have it! My mini-reviews for the day! Toodles!

 

Just a sidenote eARCs I’ve read this month that are getting their own review will be:
– The Phantom Forest
– Spin the Dawn
– Slumber

I Like What I Like

 

I feel like this is something I should just tackle. I kinda have before in Crap Critiquing Skills

To give a run down, I know I rate books pretty high. I do it knowingly.

Why?

Because I liked them… because they were enjoyable because that’s the rating I felt they deserve.

Now I know that I don’t really critique books in my reviews but that isn’t my point. My reviews are used to highlight what I liked/didn’t like about a book and lately, I’ve liked more than I’ve disliked. So sue me.

If there are areas of contention in a book I do try to mention them, I do try and say, hey I’m not sure how this will go for you all, but it’s there. And I’m going back through my reviews to add trigger warnings to anything and everything that I think needs it and that I’ve overlooked lately.

This is me trying to do better as a reviewer, but, the fact that I enjoy books shouldn’t be an issue. And almost no one aside from a friend has pointed it out to me, so I’m not here to defend myself against fake haters, I’m here to tell you all that it is absolutely 100% okay to like what you read, it is also okay to not like what you read. The reviews are not just for readers, they’re for you. You’re reflecting on what you read, you’re giving your opinion and voice to something you read.

Do not feel bad about hating a book everyone has loved, and on the same token, don’t feel bad for loving a book people hated.

Romance is your go-to genre and you tend to love them all? That’s wonderful, or maybe it makes you pickier, that’s also wonderful. I value your opinions and so do most, but even if we didn’t, you hold that head high and don’t worry about it.

It can be so easy to tear a book down, and sometimes it is so very very justified, but we have to remember to not tear down the readers with it.

[And unless it has some serious ethical problems [racism, sexism, prejudice, harmful language toward certain groups then maybe we should pause before tearing down an author with their book as well but I have to say I think we’re pretty good in our community about being supportive.]

My reviews are still growing, I’m still learning but I don’t think I should feel guilty about just really enjoying books I read and I hope others don’t either. You want to five-star rate the last four books you read? You do it! Want to DNF? Go for it! Want to give a 1 star because you absolutely disliked the book? Put that one star down, GoodReads is a community but those ratings aren’t just for other readers, they’re a reflection of your opinion. So give it honestly, and guilt-free.

Meanwhile, I’ll try to pterodactyl screech less while fan-girl raving and make my reviews a bit more coherent.

 

June Rewind

 My June Reads

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  1. The Last Tsar’s Dragons

  2. Kennig & Gold

  3. Remeon’s Quest

 

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  1. The Path Keeper 

 

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  1. The Chosen

  2. Kingdom of Exiles

 

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  1. Random Attachment

  2. The Missing Years

  3. The Repenting Serpent

  4. The Sea Refuses No River

  5. Dream Angus

  6. Bride Squad Runaway

  7. The Van Apfel Girls are Gone

  8. The Starter Wife

  9. Akela

  10. The Red Labyrinth

 

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  1. The Disappeared

  2. Without a Trace

  3. The Ice House

  4. Finer Things

  5. Shadow of the Fox

  6. Heart of Stone

  7. Horizontal Collaboration

  8. Soul of the Sword

  9. Something to Live For

    [Review to Come]

Total Tally: 25 Books Read this Month

 

Favorite Posts from around the book blogger-verse

These are most certainly not all the great posts I’ve seen but they’re the ones that I did recall the most, and trust me, I’ve seen some amazing content this month, it was a bit overwhelming to try and pick lol.

 

What I’ve Posted

 

I had so much fun attending my first book event, Cymera Festival! I had a lot of blog tours and I came up with some new things, Thriller Thursdays and Comparing Notes (Comparing Notes will be monthly for now so July will have a new post to roll out on that) I also didn’t post for like 6/7 days out of the month and it was nice to have those days off! I can’t wait to see what July brings!

**And That’s a wrap! I’m off to go nap now. If you click on the pics this time you’ll be directed to my GR review, and clicking on the title of the book will give you my blog post review if there is one for the book. I know I read a lot of 4/5 star books this month, but it was a really good month for reading, and I have no regrets on loving so many reads this go!**

 

 

 

Thriller Thursday

 

 

Hey Guys! So, I’ve decided that with all the thrillers I’ve been reading lately I will use Thursdays when I feel like it to highlight and recap/review some of my favorite thriller reads.

That being said, I am going to do TWO this week. Why? Because I can. It’s my blog. I do what I want.

 

 

Also I read both of these ARCs and LOVED them, and since they came out this month, I want to share them both.

**Thank you to the publishers, Point Blank – OneWorld Publications for the ARC of The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone and to Hodder & Stoughton for a copy of The Starter Wife. I received these in exchange for my honest review(s).**

First up?

 

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Blurb: ‘We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’ 

Tikka Molloy was eleven years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert. 

Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved. 

Now, years later, Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot. 

Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – a perfect summer chiller with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart. 

My Review

 

Want an amazing summer thriller read?? This is pretty much it, I read this in a night, I couldn’t put it down and it was brilliant.

Three girls have gone missing, and in their wake they leave unanswered questions and one friend struggles I accept their disappearance. Going home again, will she unravel the mystery, will anything change after so long?

The ending to this is really what struck me the most. I won’t give anything away but it was not at all expected and Felicity McLean really impressed me. The story she weaves for us is quite the tangled web and in the end, there’s no black and white, just the facts as they are. I really love things that delve into the morally gray and better yet they have no clear answers. The point of this book wasn’t as much to solve a mystery as it was for Tikka to face her past.

The Van Apfel girls are all different and though they may all have blond hair, the similarities stop there. They are sisters and have to rely on each other more than their parents who are too embedded in their church and religion and only care about the daughters also becoming as ‘holy’ as they are. Except for the fact that our middle Van Apfel girl Cordelia who seems to attract her Father’s special attention.

Cordelia is complex, mature for her age and yet still ver much a young teenager (really a child at 13) and when you delve more into her own particulars you understand her more. I thought she was brilliantly written.

Even Ruth, the youngest, is so well fleshed out and McLean gives amazing descriptions for her (and the others). In fact as you read this, it’s hard not to imagine Australia, she paints a picture of the landscape and the suburbia perfectly.

McLean does a great job presenting all of the characters and describing what makes them all different, there are no hollow characters, even the side characters are given depth and everyone plays their part in this unsolved mystery.

Great debut novel and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!

Content/Trigger Warning: Child Molestation/Rape (though not detailed, very very strongly hinted at), Child Abuse, death of a child.

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About the Author

FELICITY MCLEAN was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career. Her journalism has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia. THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is her debut novel. 

 

Next…

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Blurb:

Can you ever really know what goes on between a husband and wife? 

Claire Westcott tries to be the perfect wife to Byron but fears she will never measure up to his ex, Colleen. After all, it’s hard to compete with the dead. 

Colleen went missing eight years ago. Her body was never found but the police ruled it a suicide. So when Claire receives a phone call from a woman she believes is Colleen, it opens up a million terrifying questions. 

Claire discovers the couple weren’t as happy as they would have people believe. And now she’s worried Byron hasn’t been completely honest with her. 

There are secrets in every marriage, but Claire is about to find out that sometimes those secrets are deadly. 

My Review

I love creepy reads, and this, this was a brilliant and creepy read.

A true thriller with a fabulously well done antagonist. So, be prepared. There was a nice twist that slowly worked its way in, you may be able to spot it early on but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Laurin also doesn’t give too much away, at the end you’re still left wondering with a couple of questions and I absolutely love that, though, all the important things are answered so don’t worry about having an unsatisfying ending.

There’s something about having a character that you just can’t quite tell if they’re the hero or the villain that just makes it great, and Laurin gives you more than one character to wonder about! The little ‘cut’ scenes are brilliant as Laurin uses them for her own benefit, and continually manipulates the reader and I absolutely love that! I think it speaks for a writer, especially a thriller writer if they can twist and turn a story to their liking and throw a reader off track, even if it’s only for a moment. For those who read this sort of book more often it may be an easy guess for you, but I think you’ll still enjoy the read. I know I really did.

This was another book I consumed in a night, I actually tried to put it down too! I saw it was getting late, set the book to the side and turned off the light. 30 minutes later, I was still awake and wondering what in the world was going to happen next, so I made my way to the living room to finish the book without disturbing the husband with the light, and it was completely worth it!

I love that even the ‘good’ characters aren’t even that good, like McLean, Laurin is giving us this sort of gray area, and you’re left wondering ‘what could this person have done to make things better.’ Honestly, I enjoyed Claire as a character, and thought Laurin did a great job hashing her out.

Content/Trigger Warning: Violence, deaths, psychological manipulation, drugged drinks, stalking.

About the Author

 

Nina Laurin studied creative writing at Concordia University in Montreal, where she currently lives. She arrived in Montreal when she was just twelve years old, speaks and reads in Russian, French, and English but writes her novels in English. 
Nina is fascinated by the darker side of mundane things, and she’s always on the lookout for her next twisted book idea.

 

Alright there we have it! My first thriller Thursday! Both of these books are out now, so go check out your local bookstore/book depository/amazon/whatever you cool cats use these days!

Toodles!

 

The Sea Refuses No River Blog Tour

 

The Sea Refuses No River Cover

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The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it’s like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life

In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journey. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck’, and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’

Book Information:
Paperback: 42 pages
Publisher: Fly on the wall poetry (21 Jun. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1999598652
ISBN-13: 978-1999598655

Where to Buy it

Click Here

 

My Review

I have always had a soft spot for poetry, and though it’s nice to read love poems, romantic ones at that, I think that poetry spans so much more and offers a sort of comfort for almost any situation. In this collection, Rivers takes the reader on a journey of grief and healing, in this case it is the loss of her own Father which resonates in her poetry. There’s always something missing in you after you’ve lost someone you’ve cared for and sometimes talking to others helps but seeing words from someone else that speaks to your heart is just a therapy in its own, at least for me. Rivers doesn’t force the words and they seem to come from a place of honesty and her style is simple and lovely. She also doesn’t overburden the reader so if they are also suffering from grief it will not be something so overwhelming that it’ll more damage than healing. The imagery is flowing, and paints a picture in your heart. My favorite poems were ‘At My Father’s Grave,’ ‘How to Cross the Desert,’ and ‘Seeker’ but they were all a joy to read in their own right and some of them felt more lyrical than anything.

If you enjoy free flowing poetry, whether you’ve suffered a loss or not, I recommend this to you. Thanks to Anne Cater, the Publisher, and Bethany Rivers for the opportunity to read this lovely book.

About the Author

 

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Bethany Rivers

 

Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.

Website Twitter Facebook

 

Rest of the Tour Schedule

Sea Refuses No River BT Poster

 

May Rewind

First off, here’s what I read this month and I’ve divided it up by rating!

 

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Clicking on the book cover will take you to my review of it, aside from Discoucia, The Seventh Train and The Amber Maze. The latter two are scheduled for next week and I have passed on writing a review for Discoucia.

My Fave May Posts From Fellow Bloggers

Crowing About Books: 23 Upcoming YA Releases By Asian Authors!

Fictionally Sam: Gaining Perspective

Bookwyrm Bites: Recommended Reads: Quiet YA & NA

Michelle Likes Things: Pride Month Challenge and Giveaway

Pages & Plots: 5 Readathons You May Want to Check Out this May

Reader Voracious: Here are 8 Anticipated Reads for June 2019
Reader Voracious: ARC Request Templates (Email & Profile)

Bookwyrming Thoughts: Signs Your Blog is Evolving

What I’ve Posted

Regular Posts:

  1. Book Reviewing: A Process
  2. Gotta Get Down on Friday
  3. The Summer Shift
  4. New ‘Series’ In the Works!
  5. Supporting Authors & Supporting ‘Us’

Top 5 Posts:

  1. Top 5 Authors I’d Like to Meet

 

The rest are tags and memes!

 

What I’m Looking forward to…

 

I’m really looking forward to seeing what my fellow bloggers dish out for June and I’m excited to say the first #ComparingNotes will be out tomorrow! And I also look forward to lessening my posts for the summer because it’ll be a nice change of pace! I’m going on lots of blog tours and just kinda playing it by ear, so we’ll see how this next month goes!