Mini Reviews for Mid October 2019

Thoughts

Since my last random update post, August’s, when I was audiobooking Charlotte Sometimes, I have not only completed my Classics Club 50 in 5 years requirement but am devouring more classics in a race to the end of the year!

Not sure why the above is indented, but I’m going with it. The list/image below is in finished order, but I’m going to talk about audiobooks first and then print.

OK, so I finished Charlotte and only kind of liked it. Gave it 3 slices of pie. As far as I recall (and perhaps failed to note) there was NO PIE. Boo.

On to my next audiobook, also a classic, Tom Hardy’s The Woodlanders – and I was all in for the drama-DRAMA-D.R.A.M.A!!! of that crazy tale.

Started Naked Lunch after that both for Classics Club 50 and for this year’s What’s in a Name Challenge. I DNF’d. I got 25% in and decided that I wasn’t going to enrich my life further by listening to any more c words, f words, p words and v words.  (v for vomit.)  I’m counting it as read. Judge me all you want. (Applause also appreciated.)

Then it was on to A Handful of Dust!   Crazy wild tale, really. Quite. I would love to chat with anyone who would like to discuss. I don’t think I shall forget this story. Ever. Evelyn Waugh is just so easy to imagine as a snooty and brilliant uppercrusty-judgey Brit. Apparently he hated Dickens. Huh.

I palate-cleansed with a quick 1 hour audio ‘short story’ called Wally Roux, Quantum Mechanics, an Audible Exclusive (freebie) and enjoyed it very much. I like time travel stories.

After that and still into is my current audiobook, Wolf Hall. More on that in a later post…

Now print – mostly eBooks:

For print and in this case, I mean KINDLE, I read   The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal and LOVED IT!  OF course it HAD PIE!  Pie was a goddamn THEME.  Five slices of pie served with beer, if you please. Read it if you LOVED Kitchens of the Great Midwest, which I did. I think it was an eBook. (Yes, yes it was. I noted that.)

I read a few free or not-expensive eBook romances:   Next in Line by Amy Daws (fun! especially to read aloud to the hub while driving in to work) and Sealed With a Kiss   by Leeanna Morgan (not my cup of tea – skimmed it).

And, YIPPEE SKIPPY for me! I finally finished The House of the Seven Gables!! After many rocky starts which never ever seemed to catch, this time, I rolled up my sleeves and powered through. LOVED it once the characters were allowed to be characters (about 25% in, I’d guess? and not the history prep explanation which begins this story. I’m so glad to have read it. whew.

Then The Bird’s Nest was available – I think it was a library eBook? Very Shirley Jackson. I adore Shirley Jackson. Such talent. This book impressed me.

Oh wait! I read A Clockwork Orange, too. And yes, it was odd, violent and scary but not as scary as Naked Lunch. At least ACO had a story.

Which brings us to Love in a Cold Climate  – hardback, library – which I just finished and immediately reviewed in the post prior to this one.

The pie tally?  7 out of the 12 had pie. A few had interesting pie references, indeed (chubb pie in Love in a Cold Climate!)  Plus, a description of pie dough rolling in The Woodlanders, kidney pie and meat pie in A Handful of Dust. Truly, I’m deeply suspicious of any Brit book not having pie!

On the list of 1001+ Books To Read Before You Die: A Clockwork Orange, House of Seven Gables, and Cold Climate Love. And Naked Lunch.

Edith would just as soon take another woman’s husband as another woman’s pie recipe, and she had the best husband in the world, so there you go.

  • from The Lager Queen of Minnesota

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.
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Classics Spin Sept 2019

Updated, copied directly from the Classics Club announcement: If you joined the game last week, find number 5 on your CC Spin #21 List! That’s the CLASSIC you are challenged to read by 31st October, 2019.

And I just picked up Love in a Cold Climate on Monday, am on page 30 something.  Have already encountered the reference to the title, which is cool. The heroine is easy to like, so far. I’m also listening to A Handful of Dust which would be set almost a generation prior to Mitford’s story but certainly a very specific world “culture” I’m reading in these days!

 

Another SPIN!   

I only have 19 books left on my original list:

  1. The Three Musketeers – Alex Dumas
  2. Jude the Obscure – Hardy
  3. Rabbit, Run – Updike
  4. Naked Lunch – Wm Burroughs
  5. Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford
  6. Dead Souls – Nikolay Gogol
  7. Candide – Voltaire
  8. Gravity’s Rainbow – Thomas Pynchon
  9. Confederacy of Dunces – JKToole
  10. Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
  11. The Way We Live Now – Trollope
  12. the Counterfeiters – A. Gide
  13. A Handful of Dust – Waugh
  14. The Ox-bow Incident – Walter Van Tilberg Clark
  15. Eileen Chang’s Love in a Fallen City
  16. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes
  17. They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple
  18. The Bird’s Nest – Shirley Jackson
  19. The King Must Die
  20. <open>

SO…. Made the above list and then went to the website (because the SPIN number was chosen Sept 23 – oops)

and…

the number is . . .

= Love in a Cold Climate – Nancy Mitford

 

and here’s a quick update for you. I will succeed in reading 50 classics in 5 years but just not the original list. I am currently reading (and enjoying!) The Woodlanders by Hardy on audio and The House of the Seven Gables by Nat Hawthorne. Both on the list, by the way. I’ve researched and requested a few other books from the list above and this leads me to the next paragraph:

…more update! I had wanted to read The House of the Seven Gables for the What’s in a Name Challenge but realized that the category was in last year’s requirements. Ooops. I hadn’t yet read any of the books for the 2019 challenge, so I decided on the following:

For Precious Metal – The Golden Notebook

For Temperature – Love in a Cold Climate – YAY CC Spin!

For Month/Day/Week: One Fine Day – (tbh, this one is proving difficult to find)

For a Meal: Naked Lunch – the only one findable everywhere: library, audible, etc

For Girl/Woman:  The Woman in the Window – a DNF but who cares

For both OF + AND: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memeory in Northern Ireland

This should give me a successful challenge year to recap in December. Happy Fall!

Here’s Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie to celebrate:

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

August 2019 Update

Thoughts

I’m still here! I’m around. Just not as frequently and via less apps. (usually ALWAYS on Twitter, if you are looking for me…)

But I need a new cellphone – it has been “hiding” my apps and so they just aren’t available. Meaning no Litsy, which I miss and then I can’t remember passwords and online-life is just too complicated anymore. I miss the old days when blogging was fun and we didn’t have to jump through any hoops to leave comments and even visit!

The image above is from goodreads. (I am on goodreads; often.) I seem to be devouring the free (and short!) audiobooks from Audible. Treasure Island will end up helping me make the Classics 50 in Five Years. I think I have a few more months. (Need to check that.)

Speaking of Classics 50 — I just started the audiobook of Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer.

(I’m on a Penelope kick?)

AND, when I went to goodreads, I couldn’t find it in the editions offerings. So I added it. I love being a gr librarian!  Hopefully I did it right and correctly verified that an edition wasn’t already in the catalog.

I added the appropriate image and everything!

Back to my tbr image: the Elizabeth Bowen and the William Golding book were recommended by Penelope Lively. I just finished her Dancing Fish and Ammonites

 

and it was delightful.

Funny thing is that I have yet to read any fiction (or anything!) by Lively and now I’ve gone and read her memoir.

I’ve done that before — read an author’s memoir or biography before I’ve read any of what made the author an author in the first place. Did that with PD Wodehouse…

I am also reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess because it is handy. I found it on the Take-One-Leave-One bookshelf at my apt complex. I think it is on my Classics 50 list, too?  (Really need to go look at that list soon.)

Looking back on what I’ve read lately and would like to recommend, I find I am baffled by what I stated in my last post. I *did* actually read a few books in June. I read The Great Believers (which is two posts ago – look at that, I wrote an actual review.) and I read The Psychology of Time Travel – I liked it a lot and invite you to check it out.

Here’s the pic of the truly latest reads: 

Yes to Good Omens (my first Terry Pratchett) and enthusiastic yes for Crazy Rich Asians.  The Silent Patient was so-so. I DNF’d The Woman in the Window, Lost Children Archive and Black Leopard,Red Wolf.  NOT for all the same reasons, but one applicable reason for all is Too Many Books Not Enough Time.

That said, I hope you have terrific books in your life, the opportunity to eat some great pie and aren’t too stressed about time nor world affairs nor climate/weather, etc. Goodness! Can’t end on a downer!  How about some Rhubarb Raspberry Handpies…

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

The Great Believers

Thoughts (cover) by Rebecca Mekkai, 2018, 18 hrs 17 minutes

Narrated by Michael Crouch

Challenge:  Personal, TOB influenced
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Audible Audiobook
 Why I read this now:  on my mind and timing worked? (no idea)

MOTIVATION for READING:

FINALIST FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN FICTION
WINNER OF THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE STONEWALL BOOK AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

Soon to Be a Major Television Event, optioned by Amy Poehler

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris…

THOUGHTS: What I wrote on goodreads:

Maybe this is a 4 star PLUS maybe it is a 5 but it is heart-wrenching and emotional; a button-pushing, guilt-absorbing, helluva read. 

I have yet to read any reviews but I hope some mention that it is a book about motherhood almost as much as lost-enduring love and the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, and Chicago. so many themes. so many feelings.

Imaginary Interviewer: “So, Care, why do you claim this book is about motherhood?”

Care: “Sorry, my intention was to suggest that a theme of motherhood is woven into the story and it explores our expectations of what motherhood should be.”

II: “Like what?”

Care: “Well, it struck me early on that Yale’s mother abandoning him when he was 6 pr 7 might come back up – actually, this book had some obvious foreshadowing tactics and this was one – sort of. You don’t bring up the guy’s sad childhood and chat about his mother who left more than the father who stayed without making the reader hope it is resolved or explored later.

And, I didn’t expect the how Makkai brought her back!  Well done. NOT cliche. At least to me.”

II: Is this going to be a spoiler-full post?

Care: “Yes, I think it is.

II, shouting: “SPOILERS AHEAD!!!  OK, go on.”

Care: “Sure. So, Fiona shut out her mother because Mom kicked out the son, the brother Nico. Or rather didn’t stop Dad from doing so. Maybe Mom did what she could – allowing Fiona to rob from her purse to give to Nico, etc. But the funeral stuff was very very sad.

And then Fiona was devastated that she was shut out by her daughter. And she couldn’t figure it out because she was nothing NOTHING! like her mother.

And then there was the Cecily – Kurt, mother-son relationship. Also, there was Teresa, Charlie’s mom and mom to Yale in turn. Who was all heart, it seemed.

Plus, the dash of southern motherly love for Julian! I loved that part. I think, as a reader in the situation we are immersed in to that point, especially, you don’t expect Julian’s mom to welcome him back home and not bat an eye. But she does.

Finally, Nora and her ‘having her son so late’ and thus spoiling him. Ha! Wow, did I hate Frank and that whole thing. Just horrid.

Basically, you can’t expect how your kids will turn out. You can’t assume a happy relationship, no matter what the circumstances?

I liked Yale and liked the 80s storyline. Fiona was not someone I could warm up to but by the end of the book, I was able to be empathetic, sympathetic to her (and glad her therapist seemed sensible with the advice to ‘be the grown up’.)

Still not sure what to think of Claire. She seemed overly harsh to me. And she is probably why I give this 4 and not 5 slices.

Fiona suffered PTSD. Yale didn’t deserve that fate and boy was I pissed off at Roman. And Frank. And Bill. and Charlie. Gah! There were some peaches in this book, goodness gracious.

Fiona’s ex husband came out looking OK, though. All the best to his wife.

Gosh, Richard was happy-go-lucky, yes?

II:  (gives perplexed nod.)

Care: “Yay Richard.”

(Moment of uncomfortable silence.)

II: “Care, how long has it been since you wrote a book review?”

Care: “Uh, too long? I’m a bit rusty.”

II: “Yep.”

RATING: Four slices of pie.

Potpie was mentioned and I think there was a bit of pie sharing in the driving-north-to Wisconsin parts. I think.

At 36%, I have a quote marked:

 “Sold out her father for what was left of the pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

May 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

May was . . .  a month of some reading. It was SOMEthing. Heck, I barely remember May. I do remember that the days kept getting longer. I love that about May.

I read a few books in May:

Except that I abandoned Maid. Just couldn’t get into it. I meant to but when three weeks go by and it never moves, I figured it wasn’t meant to be.

In the meantime, I started the 639 page The Golden Notebook and fell right into that rabbit hole.  I’m still there. But it’s going! (And if you saw the latest gr update, you’ll know how it is going.)

Let’s mini-review:

Underground Airlines. I liked it. Gave it four slices of pie. Pie was mentioned! bonus.

“Every town had its steeple and its water tower, and the shoulder was dotted with wooden signs advertising pies and antiques.”

The quote above reminds me of Pickers. We’ve been watching Pickers. A lot. Or hub is – I’ve been trying to read.

Liked it. Would be a great book club book. Be sure to look up the controversy.

Milkman by Anna Burns. The audiobook. Yes, yes – I decided I must listen as a re-read this glorious story, this wonderful wonderful story that is complex, heartbreaking, funny, and amazing. I enjoyed the heck out of it listening. More so than reading so if you want to just roll and ride with this young lady trying to live her life as best as she can while enduring the times she must live in, try the audiobook. Five slices of pie and I’m pretty sure I picked up on more pie references on the second time through it. Narration by Bríd Brenann.

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Atomic Marriage by Curtis Sittenfeld

A quick 2+ hour audiobook that I got free and decided to try because I am curious about the author. I will read more by her. I will also enjoy most anything narrated by Diane Lane. I actually gave this 5 slices.

I notice that I tend to give 5 slices to really long books and really short books.

 

Chocolate Pudding Pie

 

 

 

June 9 is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day – just sayin’ 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Happy #CoconutCreamPieDay

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

Bowlaway

Thoughts by Elizabeth McCracken, ecco (Imprint of HarperCollins) 2019, 373 pages

Challenge:  none
Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Hardcover / Library
 Why I read this now:  This was mentioned as a terrific read by the TOB commentariat so I looked to see if it was available from the library. It was, so I’m reading it. Plus, the author is a fun Twitter follow. 

MOTIVATION for READING:  See why I read this now above.

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  A candle pin bowling alley. An unusual woman who built and ran the bowling alley and the subsequent family members who trailed after her.

WHAT’s GOOD: It’s quirky in all the right and wonderful ways. I really enjoyed it.

What’s NOT so good: I have no complaints.

FINAL THOUGHTS:  Has a memorable first sentence/contender for best opening ever.

RATING:  Five slices of pie. LOTS of pie and most pie references are to pie shapes or pie-cut or piebald or . . .

Page 227 – “Sometimes this ghost left the Gearheart to haunt a particular compartment at the Automat, and soured whatever sandwich or soup or slice of pie had been put there.”

Page 240 – “Eskimo Pie.”

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from BkClubCare aka Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

March 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

March was a delight! Celebrating the Tournament of Books is the best thing about March. If you haven’t heard, My Sister the Serial Killer WON! Very happy that this would prevail (after suffering the disappointment of Milkman being knocked out. Y’all can read most of this already in prior posts.)

I read a few books in March:

I DNF’d The Italian Teacher and wasn’t as impressed with the second half of Washington Black as I was with the first half. I can’t say The Lost Girls of Paris did anything for me and I loved listening to Michelle Obama tell me about her life from the beginning to now in her memoir, Becoming.

There, There was also somewhat of a disappointment but that might be all on me. I had built it up too much, knew too much about it, etc. AND, I read half of it fast and furious while trapped on a plane. Then put it down for a few days before rushing to finish before its last entry round in the TOB. I had lost all recognition of the various story lines and it couldn’t hold together in my head. And the ending – knew it was coming, of course, but the ending!  was abrupt. Felt almost like a cliff hanger but no cliff. More like a brick wall?

April is going better. I’ve already finished these two books:

Both 4 stars and plenty of pie.

And with that short update, here’s a few pie pics from this month:

From Pi/e Night on 3/14:

and from vacation to Baltimore MD:

 

 

 

April 22 is Blueberry Pie Day – just sayin’ 

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

February 2019: What I Done Did This Month (#LetterMo)

Thoughts . .  .

I read _3_ books this February.

Milkman took me forever to read but I loved it. It will (I wanted to write ’twill’ but it looked wrong, ‘Twill‘) possibly be one of those interesting stories and TELLING of a story that stays with me and grows in the As. (The As are admiration and appreciation.) It was so uniquely crafted!  And involving and absorbing and brain-invasive. You can see that I also loved My Sister, the Serial Killer for 5 slices of pie. So Lucky was intense and had much to admire but elements didn’t tickle the (my) exacting finicky appreciation to the spot of oo-ah-ah. Yet it is still good! I do think it has much in style and topic and pace to admire.

I’m still* listening to Washington Black by Esi Edugyan. I have some issues.

I’m still in the beginning of The Italian Teacher. At this point, I have basically abandoned it. I have basically gotten so annoyed with the idea of trying to read on that I’m blastin and cursing the concept of ebooks. I don’t exactly know why I am so aggrieved nor why I just can’t shrug and say, “meh. I’m done.” I just have decided to not read a damn thing since or instead.

Ok, start of rant. It reminds me a The Paris Wife and I could not abide that book. NO. Something about poor putupon wives with little kids and over the top big personality husbands that just …   annoys the super crap out of me.

And this makes me sad. SAD! because this is a TOB book and it has effectively KILLED my TOB momentum and enthusiasm. AND typing that, realizing that makes me sad and mad. WHY did this book derail my M and E? WHY? And now I am annoyed with myself for being derailed and annoyed and unhappy about it all. UGH.

I was SOOOO excited for this Tom Rachman! I loved The Imperfectionists!

I blame it on what else happened in February:  mild flu, husband catching cold, said cold being caught by me, cold running various versions of its mutations throughout my body over weeks. I am now starting to feel better.  Hub is still doing some cringe-worthy coughing bouts.

Which is the perfect segue to #LetterMO!  Write? right?!

I wrote 100+ letters during the month of February.  I received 46 pieces of fun mail during the month. Twenty-two people mailed me letters or postcards and of course, I wrote them back (if I hadn’t written them first… TAG YOU’RE IT!)  Be warned, my corresponding drops off sharply in Spring. If you want to write me, don’t expect a quick return letter, but do know that I *will* eventually write back. I did try to write all of my book-blogger-penpals once this month. If you wanted a letter and didn’t get one, I’m sure it was lost in the mail. (HA! No, do not let me blame the usps. If you want a letter, please let me know. I apologize and will write you straight away. Or by summer. same thing.)

This was a good #LetterMo. It grounds me in some way I have yet to explore fully.

Time for the TOB part of the post.

I updated my brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The extended highlights are new from the last post of this pic. I will be following this TOB with regret that I didn’t read more but I’ll end up being wildly enthusiastic about the tourney while I kick myself for not having my own knowledge of what is being discussed. At this point, I’m rooting for Milkman to take the rooster.

Finally, PIE:

Chocolate Cherry Pie. [Cherry Pie Day is Feb 20.]

Are YOU excited for TOB this year? Do you like Cherry Pie? Did you know that March 2nd is Banana Cream Pie Day?!?!

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

January 2019 Mini-Reviews

Thoughts

I’ve read 4 books so far this January.

All of these are for the Tournament of Books. I can’t seem to find a link to that site online. (I wonder what is up with that?)

I did find the brackets:  Just click on the pic below to access a printable link.

The Golden State  by Lydia Kiesling. This is told in a most interestingly delivered present tense style that somehow didn’t bore nor frustrate me but it certainly scares me to how challenging it is raise a toddler. I admit I did love this for the Alice character – even as I was appalled that our narrator referred to her as a crone! What a harsh word. Tons of themes to explore for book clubs.  Mentions pizza pie and probably Honey-Pie.

The Overstory  by Richard Powers. I knew straightaway that this author was going to be impressive but unfortunately, it was too long and by the end of it? Not sure I care to ever read another book by him. THAT SAID, ahem, I did love the story, the words, the themes, the characters explored in this!  with extra whipped cream. (However, no pie referenced so thus a half a slice demerit…)

The Parking Lot Attendant  by Nafkote Tamirat. A coming of age story, an immigrant story, a utopia exploration story? Set in Massachusetts and an unknown island; about Ethiopian-Americans. Leftover apple pie! Highly impressive and confident writing style. 

The Parking Lot Attendant might be my favorite. Census (my review post) by Jesse Ball was my least favorite for this month. It was just unsettling odd and I couldn’t enjoy it. I gave it three slices of pie despite some fun pie mentions. Maybe audio was not the best medium. I’m glad I read it so now I don’t have to read anything else by this author.

I read Speak No Evil by Uzodinmo Iweala — actually, I listened to it, in December.
Heartbreaking story; or a duo story since this follows two high school friends, a switch in the narrative. I don’t even want to share more because I feel I would give too much away.  Mentions pizza pie.

 

I’m still working on Milkman by Anna Burns. Thing is DENSE. Just sayin’.

The titles I hope to get to next are So Lucky, Washington Black, My Sister the Serial Killer, The Italian Teacher, Mars Room and maybe There There… I don’t have any in hand yet; waiting on the library.

Are YOU excited for TOB this year?

 

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Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club aka Care’s Books and Pie. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club aka BkClubCare.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.