Thursday, 31 May 2018

A Month in Books - May 2018

Welcome to May's Month In Books roundup! I've linked this post with the Wrap-Up Round-Up Link-Up over at Feed Your Fiction Addiction. (now that's a tongue twister!)

I'm pleased with the 19 books I have read this month! All were at least three-star ratings and they represented lots of different countries. Some as close as Iceland and Belgium, others from as far afield as Colombia, Gabon, Syria and South Korea. On a global note, May's WorldReads featured books from Zimbabwe. You can catch up with that post here or, if you've already read it, hang on just five more days for June's WorldReads which will feature Icelandic novels and mythology.

I didn't add any more to my Alphabet Soup or Decade challenges this month, but have signed up for another challenge anyway! There's more information about The Classics Club in my latest Week In Review post.

I blogged another five excellent female-authored books for ReadingWomen on the 10th, and also am now regularly posting Books From The Backlog on Thursdays and 50/50 Fridays on, erm, Fridays! Those last two won't be every week but, hopefully, on most weeks if the dates don't clash with other post series-es.

Now, on with my reads for May!
(Click the book titles or cover images to visit their Literary Flits pages)


My Reviews

Have You Seen A Dark Haired Man With Burning Eyes by Dr Henya Shanun-Klein

The Book Depository : from £12.24 (PB)
Wordery : from £12.57 (PB)
Waterstones : from £14.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $18.93 / £13.54 (HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

You are about to experience the heart-warming and gut-wrenching, true story of Adel and Itchale. A story of love and loss of newlyweds who fled Poland after the Nazi invasion. This rigorously documented story is about a young woman's search that initially seems hopeless and impossible, yet soon turns into a journey of adventure and survival against all odds. Adel's journey not only spans two continents, from Europe to Asia, but also gives the reader a first-hand look at some of the history of World War II as she searches for her missing husband.


Thirty Days by Annelies Verbeke

The Book Depository : from £11.50 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.15 (PB)
Waterstones : from £11.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $2.99 / £0.50 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Alphonse, funny, observant, and imaginative, is a former musician who has left Brussels with his girlfriend Cat to live near her parents in the buttoned-up rural district of Westhoek. It has open fields, wide low skies, more World War I graves than almost anywhere else in Europe—and one of the highest suicide rates in the Western world. Alphonse starts a new life as a handyman. As he paints and decorates the interior of people's homes he gets to know their complex emotional lives—their affairs, familty disturbances, messy divorces, everyday cruelties, and unexpected dreams. But when he, Cat, and a client help a group of Afghans and Syrians at a makeshift refugee camp, he learns that not all locals appreciate their work … 


Tipping Point by Terry Tyler

The Book Depository : unavailable
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Amazon : from $1.34 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

'I didn't know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.'
The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up. A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it's spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.


Let It Bleed by Nicole I Nesca

The Book Depository : unavailable
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Amazon : from $12 / £9.50 (PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

This isn’t just a book of prose and poetry but a beautiful streetwise and lyrical telling of a life in pursuit of truth, sex, love, youth-lost and experience. With an alternating rhythm of long free-flowing sentences and short, minimalist statements, Let It Bleed is an original urban street-hymn that hearkens to writers of yesterday like Sylvia Plath and also the more modern rock and roll writings of Patti Smith, but always and forever original and unique.


The Road To Vermilion Lake by Vic Cavalli

The Book Depository : from £18.73 (PB)
Wordery : from £12.79 (PB)
Waterstones : from £18.73 (HB)
Amazon : from $10.86 / £7.75 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The Road to Vermilion Lake is set in the sublime interior mountains of British Columbia. There a young blaster's helper and industrial first-aid attendant (Thomas Neal Tems) meets an incredibly beautiful self-declared medieval woman (Johnny Nostal) and their electric love literally rocks the entire ecosystem. Layering medieval, pioneer, and contemporary settings and fusing them within the context of depth psychology and the enduring submerged legacies of trauma, the novel affirms healing and the strength of love while also exploring the comic and yet potentially tragic relationship between the Canadian wilderness and the human desire to impose technological design and structure upon the few remaining pockets of untouched nature we have left.


Ponti by Sharlene Teo

The Book Depository : from £10.49 (HB)
Wordery : from £9.90 (HB)
Waterstones : from £14.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $15.60 / £6.50 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

2003. Singapore. Friendless and fatherless, sixteen-year-old Szu lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, once a beautiful actress and now a hack medium performing séances with her sister in a rusty house. When Szu meets the privileged, acid-tongued Circe, they develop an intense friendship which offers Szu an escape from her mother’s alarming solitariness, and Circe a step closer to the fascinating, unknowable Amisa. Seventeen years later, Circe is struggling through a divorce in fraught and ever-changing Singapore when a project comes up at work: a remake of the cult seventies horror film series ‘Ponti’, the very project that defined Amisa’s short-lived film career. Suddenly Circe is knocked off balance: by memories of the two women she once knew, by guilt, and by a past that threatens her conscience . . .


Norse Stories Retold From The Eddas by Hamilton Wright Mabie

The Book Depository : from £6.31 (PB)
Wordery : from £5.47 (PB)
Waterstones : from £4.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $2.05 / £0.99 (ebook)
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Norse Stories Retold from the Eddas by Hamilton Wright Mabie is a refreshing read for the young and old alike. The author presents the original Scandinavian poetry in riveting prose and has succeeded in retaining the flavour of the Norse tales without losing anything to translation. 


Silent Victim by Caroline Mitchell

The Book Depository : from £8.44 (PB)
Wordery : from £14.53 (HB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.34 / £3.98 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Emma’s darkest secrets are buried in the past. But the truth can’t stay hidden for long.
Emma is a loving wife, a devoted mother…and an involuntary killer. For years she’s been hiding the dead body of the teacher who seduced her as a teen. It’s a secret that might have stayed buried if only her life had been less perfect. A promotion for Emma’s husband, Alex, means they can finally move to a bigger home with their young son. But with a buyer lined up for their old house, Emma can’t leave without destroying every last trace of her final revenge…


My Sweet Friend by H A Leuschel

The Book Depository : unavailable
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Amazon : from $1.33 / £0.99 (ebook)
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Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships. But is Alexa all she claims to be? As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?


A Spoke In The Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt
Almost my Book of the Month!

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.99 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.80 / £4.31 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The first thing I saw was the wheelchair.
The first thing she saw was the doper.
Ben Goddard is an embarrassment – as a cyclist, as an athlete, as a human being. And he knows it. Now that he's been exposed by a positive drugs test, his race wins and his work with disabled children mean nothing. He quits professional cycling in a hurry, sticks a pin in a map, and sets out to build a new life in a town where nobody knows who he is or what he's done. But when the first person he meets turns out to be a cycling fan, he finds out that it's not going to be quite as easy as that. Besides, Polly's not just a cycling fan, she's a former medical student with a chronic illness and strong opinions. Particularly when it comes to Ben Goddard...


Place Of The Heart by Steinunn Sigurdardottir
My Book of the Month!

The Book Depository : from £8.53 (audio CD)
Wordery : from £8.99 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $1.36 / £1.00 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Single mother Harpa has always been a misfit. Her physical appearance is unique among Icelanders: so small she self-deprecatingly refers to herself as a dwarf, so dark-skinned she doubts her genetic link to her father, so strange she nearly believed the children who mistook her for a mythical creature of the forest. Even as an adult, she struggles to make sense of her place in the world. So when she sees how her teenage daughter, Edda, has suffered since the death of her best friend, Harpa sees no choice but to tear her away from her dangerous social scene in the city. She enlists the help of a friend and loads her reprobate daughter and their belongings into a pickup truck, setting out on a road trip to Iceland’s bucolic eastern fjords.


The White Sultana by Pierre Christin and Annie Goetzinger

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Amazon : from $9.53 / £6.79 (ebook)
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This is the story of two women. One of those women is Lady Sheringham, interviewed in her manor house, the other is Emma Piggott, who has just passed away in her London apartment, alone. To the former, life has been kind. She's gone from Shanghai to Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpar, from governess to sultana. She lives in the lap of luxury, engaged in an endless cycle of drinks parties, outings on horseback and the delicious little scandals of the British colonial community. This is a woman destined never to know hardship, other than the loss of loved ones. Emma Piggott, a teacher at St. John's, has lived a gray and stagnant life, experiencing Asia only through newspaper articles that she carefully cuts out and collects, but never leaving the Whitechapel neighborhood where her parents kept a grocery store. And yet, something unites these two women--a little detail, nothing at all really, mere chance, or perhaps just a nightmare that troubles Lady Sheringham's sleep from time to time...


Awu's Story by Justine Mintsa

The Book Depository : from £13.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £11.24 (PB)
Waterstones : from £13.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $8.98 / £10.99 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

At the dawn of the twenty-first century, villages in the Fang region of northern Gabon must grapple with the clash of tradition and the evolution of customs throughout modern Africa. With this tension in the background, the passionate, deft, and creative seamstress Awu marries Obame, after he and his beloved wife, Bella, have been unable to conceive. Because all three are reluctant participants in this arrangement, theirs is an emotionally fraught existence. Through heartbreaking and disastrous events, Awu grapples with long-standing Fang customs that counter her desire to take full control of her life and home.


The Farm by Hector Abad

The Book Depository : from £10.73 (PB)
Wordery : from £14.35 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $9.04 / £11.50 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When the Angel family's beloved home in the Antioquian wilderness falls into danger, they manage to defend it against the guerrillas and, later, the paramilitaries - but at a high price. After their parents' death, Pilar, Eva and Tono have to decide the fate of their father's legacy. While Pilar and Tono want to keep La Oculta, Eva, who experienced something terrible at the old farm house, is determined to sell. As the siblings each struggle with their own problems, their inner conflicts threaten to tear apart not only their home but also their family.


The Baghdad Clock by Shahad Al Rawi

The Book Depository : from £9.19 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.12 (PB)
Waterstones : from £12.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $3.94 / £3.23 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Baghdad, 1991. In the midst of the first Gulf War, a young Iraqi girl huddles with her neighbours in an air raid shelter. There, she meets Nadia. The two girls quickly become best friends and together they imagine a world not torn apart by civil war, sharing their dreams, their hopes and their desires, and their first loves. But as they grow older and the bombs continue to fall, the international sanctions bite and friends begin to flee the country, the girls must face the fact that their lives will never be the same again.


The Forever Night Stand by Bena Roberts

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $Free / £Free (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Sara has her back up against the wall. She is recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy and at her own "cancer free" party, she makes a decision that will change her life forever. The adventure begins when she leaves her posh lifestyle in Scotland and moves in with her Bollywood loving parents, in West London. Her parents are tragically ashamed of Sara's actions and her electronic monitor. She decides to make them happy again and considers re-marrying. Enter Raj, a possible hero who comes with the promise of a huge Indian wedding in Goa! George, the childhood love of her life who seems to be hanging around every corner. Or should she just go back to her husband? Sara faces the biggest dilemma of her life, after making the colossal mistake of her life. What will she do and whom will she choose?


The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist

The Book Depository : from £8.46 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.61 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $2.62 / £3.42 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

One day in early spring, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material. She is promised a nicely furnished apartment inside the Unit, where she will make new friends, enjoy the state of the art recreation facilities, and live the few remaining days of her life in comfort with people who are just like her. In the Unit they are expected to contribute themselves for drug and psychological testing, and ultimately donate their organs, little by little, until the final donation. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others, and Dorrit finds herself living under very pleasant conditions. She is resigned to her fate but when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, the extraordinary becomes a reality and life suddenly turns unbearable. Dorrit is faced with compliance or escape, and...well, then what? 


Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian, My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph by Yusra Mardini with Josie Le Blond

The Book Depository : from £11.71 (HB)
Wordery : from £11.69 (HB)
Waterstones : from £18.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $11.23 / £5.57 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Yusra Mardini fled her native Syria to the Turkish coast in 2015 and boarded a small dinghy full of refugees bound for Greece. When the small and overcrowded boat's engine cut out, it began to sink. Yusra, her sister and two others took to the water, pushing the boat for three and a half hours in open water until they eventually landed on Lesbos, saving the lives of the passengers aboard. Butterfly is the story of that remarkable woman, whose journey started in a war-torn suburb of Damascus and took her through Europe to Berlin and from there to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.


The Good Son by You-jeong Jeong

The Book Depository : from £11.78 (HB)
Wordery : from £10.29 (PB)
Waterstones : from £16.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $16.41 / £6.44 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When Yu-jin wakes up covered in blood, and finds the body of his mother downstairs, he decides to hide the evidence and pursue the killer himself. Then young women start disappearing in his South Korean town. Who is he hunting? And why does the answer take him back to his brother and father who lost their lives many years ago.


Spotlights

The Enchanted Garden Cafe by Abigail Drake + Giveaway


The Book Depository : unavailable
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Amazon : from $4.78 / £3.43 (ebook)
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For her sixth birthday, Fiona Campbell’s mother, Claire, made her a peace sign piñata filled with wishes for a better planet instead of candy. When she got her period, her mother held a womanhood ceremony at their café and invited the neighborhood. On her sixteenth birthday, they celebrated with a drum circle. Fiona grew up trying to keep the impulsive Claire in check, and their struggling café afloat. She plans to move out, but first must find a way to stop a big corporation from tearing down their business and destroying her mother’s livelihood.


Eyes Don't Lie: You Can't Hide by Crystal Dawn Mason + Giveaway

Smashwords : from $0.99 (ebook)

Amazon : from $1.33 / £0.99 (ebook)

Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Curly-haired brunettes with blue eyes are the only women that seem to capture Keith’s attention. But is it really their appearance that attracts him or something sinister? Keith, a broken soul, who’s battling between good and evil, goes about his days trying to fight his evil urges. But because of a demonic stronghold, in most instances good loses the battle to evil.


Degrees of Love: A Novel by Lisa Slabach + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £11.34 (PB)
Wordery : from £10.56 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.55 / £1.90 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

At thirty-six, Susan Sinclair has it all. She's just been promoted to Senior Vice President of Mobile Banking at her firm, a prestigious position bringing fresh creative challenges and a hefty salary increase. Like the shiny new BMW in the driveway of the Silicon Valley home she shares with her husband, Matt, and their two beautiful boys, Susan exudes confidence and style. Yet despite her success in juggling the roles of wife, mother, and businesswoman, Susan struggles with a secret dissatisfaction. Matt's work in cutting-edge computer research pays less than her job, and with each advance in her career, he has grown more distant. But Matt refuses to admit there is a problem, and Susan forces herself to play along, determined to give her boys the close-knit family life she never had.


Android Love, Human Skin by Richard Godwin + Giveaway

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $4.82 / £3.58 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Welcome to a world of four genders. A dystopian science fiction novel that explores the nature of gender and sexual conflict, in a future utopia engineered by the union. Society has been revolutionised by gender control and the technologisation of man and woman. In a future where a biochemical weapon has removed the skins of the population, the rulers hunt for the beautiful ones, those men and women who still have skins.


The Things We Need To Say by Rachel Burton

The Book Depository : from £11.62 (PB)
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $14.18 / £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.
Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make. Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone. 


Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven

The Book Depository : from £11.19 (PB)
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $6.90 / £5.01 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima's war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will "overturn Japan's foundations".... 


A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles + Giveaway

The Book Depository : from £17.95 (PB)
Wordery : from £13.23 (PB)
Waterstones : from £17.95 (PB)
Amazon : from $8.80 / £6.49 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

It is the mid-1960s in Kingston, Jamaica, and the country is steeped in social, political, and economic inequities. Howard Baxter, the heir to a real estate empire, has no interest in seeking or managing wealth. Painting and deflowering Jamaican maidens are his passions. As he combs the streets looking for greater meaning in his pathetic life, it soon becomes apparent that Howard's journey will not be easy.


Raving About Rhys by Jessica Redland

The Book Depository : unavailable
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Amazon : from $1.33 / £0.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Bubbly Callie Derbyshire loves her job as a carer, and can't believe she's finally landed herself a decent boyfriend - older man Tony - who's lasted way longer than the usual disastrous three months. Tony's exactly what she's always dreamed of ... or at least he would be if he ever took her out instead of just taking her to bed. And work would be perfect too if she wasn't constantly in trouble with her boss, The She-Devil Denise.


The Cut of The Clothes: A Story of Prinny and Beau Brummell by Erato

The Book Depository : from £8.49 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.26 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $4.05 / £2.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

If clothes make the man — what is left when he undresses? Beau Brummell is the king of fashionable society, a fact which torments the eldest son of Mad King George, who would do anything to be the master of the mode. With the help of his secret Catholic wife and Dick the Dandy-Killer, the rakish Prince has everything required to ruin his rival fashionisto. Will His Royal Highness survive the obsession, or will he be destroyed by his own yearning to outdo the Beau?


Moonlight And Midtown by Christina Bauer + Giveaway

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $3.81 / £2.84 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

After battling werewolves and evil aunties, Bryar Rose is ready to enjoy her new life. No more crazy aunties. Her curse is toast. And Bry’s new man, Knox, is literally a dream come true. Best of all, Bry will soon attend a regular high school. Forget those sketchy tutors! To get ready, Bry is dedicating the rest of her summer to some serious back-to-school shopping with her best friend, Elle. It’s a blast, except for one thing: Mysterious strangers are following Bry across Manhattan.


I hope you have found some books to tempt you in this selection! You can keep up with my daily book posts on Literary Flits and don't forget all the Giveaways are listed in my Giveaway Linkup.

22 comments:

  1. Wow, 19 books? Congrats on getting so much reading done! I hope you have a good June.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. You've certainly been going around the world recently!

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    Replies
    1. It's getting tougher to find books from new-to-me countries!

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  3. Congrats on getting 19 books read. Best of luck in June. Here is my blog post: https://nrcbooks.blogspot.com/2018/05/monthly-wrap-up-may.html and I am following your blog.

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    1. Thank you Lindsay!
      Here's hoping we both have a great reading month in June :-)

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  4. You've read quite a few this month.

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  5. 19 books is amazing! The fact that all of them were at least 3 stars is even better. Have a great June!

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  6. wow, good for you!! I like the book Tipping Point, added that one to my list!! I am small potatoes-but I had a good month also!!

    https://justmeandmyblogreviews.blogspot.com/

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    1. I hope you get to enjoy Tipping Point soon :-)

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  7. You read some great books here! This month, I have enjoyed Home Fire and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

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    1. My OH has just finished Sing, Unburied, Sing and was very impressed. I need to read it soon!

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  8. Holy Mackinoly, that's a lot of books, AND the only one I've even heard of is a different translation of the Prose Eddas. This is a fascinating list. I teach reading to 11-15 year olds, so I do read a lot of YA, but with summer vacation starting, I'll have both time and mental energy to read more adult novels, so I'm definitely going to be poring over this list.

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    1. I hope you spot some books you will enjoy! Let me know if you do :-)

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  9. Wow you got to so many books. That is great!

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  10. Congrats on the great results :) I actually read 19 last month myself, but this month I was just too busy. I read 11, I'm still satisfied with the result :)
    And I really want to read My Sweet Friend.

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    1. 11's still great and I think you'll love My Sweet Friend. I'm delighted to have Manipulated Lives to read soon as well :-)

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  11. 19 books is amazing--I could only do that if most were picture books or early readers. Great job. I hope your June went well too.

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    1. Thank you :-) One was a graphic novel and two were novellas!

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