New Year’s Resolution – 2019

Hello book lovers!

The new year is officially under way. With the new year comes New Year Resolutions. While I’m dreadful with resolutions since it’s usually me setting a goal to not be a total klutz, which only lasts about a week and a half, I make a book resolution to work on all year.

As promised at the beginning of the month, I have my bookish New Year’s Resolution ready to go. I always enjoy setting a challenge for myself while also getting into new reads and getting to reads I’ve always wanted to.

Last year I made a resolution to read from twenty-five authors I’d never read from before. I really enjoyed that because it really opened up my interests. This year, I shook things up a little. My resolution is to read five book series. I do have a couple rules that I’ve made for myself.

Must have more than two books in the series.

Cannot have read them before.

Scarlet Reader

I can’t wait to get started on them. They’re ones I’ve been meaning to get to. I’m so excited that I’m like fireworks, bursting, bright, and loud. I’ve been dying to all of these and very grateful that I was able to get them.

Without further ado, the big five of the year!

Scarlet Reader
Heroes of Olympus
Author: Rick Riordan

 

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The Dark Tower
Author: Stephen King

 

Dorothy - amazon

Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige

 

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Wicked
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

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All Souls Trilogy
Author: Deborah Harkness

 

MC - amazon

Midnight Texas
Author: Charlaine Harris

Scarlet Reader

I can’t wait to read them and get some reviews up! The only problem now is figuring out which series to start with.

And while also working on this, I’ve accepted a Goodreads challenge of reading 145 books this year. Should be interesting and fun!

Stay tip-top, bookworms! Love you all. Read hard.

Scarlet Reader

 

More to come soon…

 -K.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Any book-ish resolutions? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 

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The Truth is Supposed to Set You Free (That’s Not What Happened – A Book Review)

That’s Not What Happened
Author: Kody Keplinger
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - that's NOT what happened

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

 

Six survived to tell the story, but who knows the truth?

It’s the three-year anniversary of the Virgil County High School Massacre. The reporters are long gone. The blood of those lost is long gone. The memories still walk through the hallways of the school. Lee’s best friend Sarah, one of the victims, is still hailed as a martyr by the town, but Lee knows the truth. She didn’t die proclaiming her faith. Lee was there, next to her, when she died.

She didn’t say anything then, but now, on the eve of graduating from high school, she wants to tell the truth about what really happened that day. She’s ready to. With the contributions of the other survivors about that day and how it’s affected them, she hopes to enlighten everyone to the real feelings and stories of that horrific day.

Except Sarah’s martyrdom is important to the town. It’s even driven one of the massacre survivors away. Lee knows that when she starts this journey to share the truth about that horrific day that still gives her nightmares and sleepless nights every year around the anniversary, she runs the risk of being driven out as well. But, the guilt of having remained silent has been heavy. She can’t be silent any longer, even though every new piece of information makes her question whether she should speak out.

 

This review is info/possibly spoiler worthy. Just letting you know.

I’ve been a fan of Keplinger since I read The DUFF. I think that’s the book that makes everybody a fan of her. I got excited when this book came into our bookstore. It’s so different from other books she’s written. There’s a darker, more tragic layer to this high school ride.

A school shooting. The most popular one we know and always flash back to is Columbine, and since they’ve grown in frequency.

West Nickel Mines Amish School – 2006

Virginia Tech – 2007

Sandy Hook – 2012

Santa Monica College – 2013

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School – 2018

Santa Fe High School – 2018

And so many more have impacted our country and how safe we feel in a place of learning and a place that nobody ever imagines being targeted for such violence.

This book took a POV that was—what I believe to be—touchy. Our main character had a front row seat to the shooting and her best friend died right next to her. By all rights, she should be dead too. The only POV that could’ve possibly beat this one out and made me feel even more emotional and heartbroken would be that of the shooter’s. Also, Lee broke the fourth wall by talking to me (the reader). It was her and everyone else’s story. And there were parts she could share and some she just couldn’t bring herself to get out because it was too hard.

Lee made this experience, one that people who’ve never been through something like this, personal. Her emotions and those of the other survivors were intense and real. An event like this isn’t something you glamorize and I don’t think Keplinger did that. She approached a school shooting with perspectives of kids who had suffered from it and were trying to survive its aftermath. The way she explored that aftermath was gut-wrenching with no holding back. Everybody deals with tragedy differently and she did well expressing that by using Lee’s project to get letters on their feelings about the shooting and those lost from it.

The trauma of the shooting wasn’t the only subject approached either. Sexuality had a place here, with Lee’s asexuality and Eden being gay. It’s not that it was up front, made to look just planted in. Not the case at all. It was completely natural and in Lee’s case, still being sorted out. I was so there for it! Well done! Bra-freaking-va! Sexuality is diverse and isn’t something to be given gold stars or special treatment. It’s just a part of life we need to address for ourselves, and it doesn’t need mass amounts of attention from the world. The only people it should draw attention to are those involved on a personal level. That’s just me though. Keplinger did a fantastic job with the way she wrote it into the story.

Another subject addressed? The setting of the book. Virgil is a poor town. It’s not said outright, but sprinkled throughout the book and I am so glad! I’m from a poor, shitty town that struggles economically and it was nice to see something real like this. Many towns across the country are this way. Many books I’ve read express a sense of endless monetary means. That’s not the case here and I really liked that.

Heart

The style was really unique. While we are following Lee’s POV for the most part, we get glimpses into the lives and thoughts of others—Denny, Miles, Ashley, Eden, and Kelly. This was well spread out and concise. The support system they had for each other was astounding. The writing was filled to the brim with emotion reflecting hurt, selfishness, desperation, and guilt. I was wracked.

 

Overall

This book was pretty moving for me. This was a book I wasn’t expecting. Keplinger has always surprised me. With perfectly timed humor and swelling emotions, she got me good. It was so different than many books I’ve read. Struck me like lightning with many emotions at once. Dark, scary at times, and brave.

 

Quotables:

“I wake up every morning with death on my mind.” (Lee, p. 3)

“Maybe some truths are better left buried.” (Lee, p. 2)

“Look, you don’t have to see things to be traumatized them…” (Lucas, p. 54)

“Maybe I looked normal, but so had the guy who brought a gun into my school.” (Lee, p. 152)

 

I credit these sites for informing me:

www.vox.com

The Washington Post

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Summer of ’82 (The Sacrifice Box – A Book Review)

The Sacrifice Box
Author: Martin Stewart
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - The Sacrifice Box

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Never come to the box alone.

Never open it after dark.

Never take back your sacrifice.

During the summer of 1982, five kids—Sep, Arkle, Hadley, Lamb, and Mack—all brought together under different circumstances. With nothing in common, they spend the summer together as unexpected band of friends. On the last day of summer, when they’ve been drawn to this mysterious box in the woods, they each put something into the box and the repeat the rules of the box.

The summer of 1986, the five haven’t spoken since the summer four years ago, but now, they wrangle together because something dreadful has happened. Somebody has broken the rules of the box. Now, the things they’ve given to the box are coming after them, trying to kill them. They have to figure out who before the evil within the box

You broke the rules. Now you’ll have to pay.

 

First off, if I love a cover, if it’s eye-catching, I have to gush about it, and that’s the case here. The cover is originally what caught my attention with this mysterious Stranger Things spin-off vibe with the red letter glow. The eyes staring out of the box at me were creepy too! Dark and ominous and such a classic feel. Definitely a fantastic work of art. Then after reading the inside slip, I was intrigued.

The 80s!! WOO!! A good time period. Before cell phones and computers. Geez, hard to think about that. While this book is set in the 80s and during the summer, (the best of the four seasons—fight me on it), the book takes place in the UK/England is what I’m guessing at because there weren’t major specifics, and I was just trying to pick it up from the description. The imagery brought to the story was vivid and lush, and I was soaking it up like a sponge (much like this plotting cat). Just stunning visuals. I could see it all so clearly like I was there.

Currently

I really enjoyed this book. It was quirky, filled with humor, friendship, and fun. Quite campy. Also, September Hope is an awesome name! Each of the five are interesting, but I didn’t feel very much chemistry. I couldn’t understand what really brought them together even outside of having nothing to do that summer. I’ve had plenty of summers where I didn’t have people to hang out with and I was all good with hanging out with myself. The intensity between them all was great. It added growth to the story, but I didn’t get very attached to any of them, and I love to get attached. Attachment makes the heart break or flood and drown you in emotions. I just didn’t get enough to make me feel much for the characters. If anything I felt bad that these kids were having a shit time after screwing around with bad juju.

The build-up to the sacrifice box and its evils were making me curious. Kudos on keeping me intrigued. It got gritty and horrific pretty quickly too. That, and hilarious. You can’t say you wouldn’t laugh a bit if your teddy bear was chasing you everywhere. I understand that that’s also creepy because that fluffy little sucker was vicious and just not right in the head, but I couldn’t stop giggling at times.

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While there were many mysteries that I feel like didn’t get quite figured out, I was still engrossed in this. It was fast-paced and unique and original. And, it was dimensional. While the current five struggle trying to figure who among them is responsible for putting them all at risk, you learn about the group that sacrificed to the box before them. I liked the fluctuation between both times. It added an interesting history. BUT. I will say this. It wasn’t important to have that history. Not in my opinion. It just beefed up the story, giving it some interesting flavor.

However, I won’t say that this is some profound book. There are a few moments that get you thinking, but it doesn’t extend into something deep.

As for the box?

Scarlet Reader - Sacrifice Box

Your guess is a good as mine. It’s the biggest mystery. Where it came from and where it’s going and what’s really inside, nobody knows.

 

Overall

This was both creepy and beautiful with a dash of funny. Granted, there are still a lot of questions that I have surrounding the box and these kids, I still thoroughly enjoyed this. I’ve also come to the conclusion that sometimes, there are things that will never be known. Does that bug me? Yes. Was it super imperative to the plot? No. That’s because the plot was deadly, but not solely fixed on being anything other than entertaining and it succeeded. LOL. A fun read.

 

Quotables:

“A crow on the thatch, soon death lifts the latch.” (Sep’s mum, p. 11)

“We’re all little miracles. Everything about us: all our stupid habits and our jokes and our weird faces, on a spinning ball that’s the perfect distance from the sun. And now here we are, you and me, sitting on top of a million years of history.” (Hadley, p. 137)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? In the Shadows by The Rasmus.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Fifty Shades of Mutt (Shadow of the Moon – A Book Review)

Shadow of the Moon (Moon #5)
Author: Rebecca York
Published: 2006

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Shadow of the Moon

My Rating:Half bolt

 

His gifts help him uncover the hot stories. But his latest investigation will take him inside a sinister world of power and pleasure, alongside a woman who knows how to bring out the animal in him…

 

Lance Marshall is very good at finding the next major story, but that may be because he’s a werewolf. His abilities allow him to have that extra edge. With stealth, speed, and enhanced senses, he’s currently investigating a private nightclub called The Castle. Dark and mysterious, he already knows what goes on there.

His investigation is nearly destroyed when Savannah Carter is discovered investigating The Castle as well. There in the nick of time to help her, they both get away. Turns out, her sister in a coma and it had something to do with her frequenting The Castle. Whatever the case. Savannah will get answers.

Forming an unlikely pair that toils on edge of passion, Lance and Savannah set out to uncover the truth about this dark place and the monstrous evil that lies within it.

 

This is a series that doesn’t necessarily require you to follow any kind of order. I started with this one and it’s where I’ll end. I tried and tried, but I was not into this book AT ALL. In fact, I was astounded and not pleasantly.

Scarlet Reader

Yup, guys. I’m about to turn into Voldemort and Avada Kadavra this damn book.

I was deeply intrigued about the werewolf part and the sister being in a coma and how two very different people, who actually aren’t all that different, come together with these two plot. This was nothing like that. The passion promised felt very lacking, even for a lush read. It started out mysterious, which is good, but quickly fell apart for me shortly after.

There was an incredible amount of vagueness to everything that didn’t do much for my imagination and I love it when my mind gets to wander. A little over half of this book just made me outright uncomfortable. Not my kind of read.

The characters, Lance and Savannah, were dreadful. Lance came across as domineering, cocky, and immensely chauvinistic and with how he was written, it was really disgusting. He was the kind of guy that thought about himself solely and how he could get Savannah to please him, with no regard of if he was coercing her or even considering forcing her into it. Cue my *shudder*.

Side Note: It is not my usual to be so harsh with reviews, but this book really made my stomach go green. Not my kind of book. I enjoy aggressive and playful and a side of smutty because I can, but when it comes down to the characters getting overly controlling to the point that the character opposite of them comes off as property or just another object, like a lamp or a desk. It riled me up something fierce.

Savannah was brash and lacked common sense LOL. Very common in women that leap with their heart over their head. Thought as bullheaded as she was, she didn’t think twice before sharing everything she was doing with a complete stranger…that lack of common sense bit, remember?

I wasn’t rooting for either of these two. Thus, I decided pretty quickly that they were extremely toxic.

Shattered Memories

Now, I’m not one to complain too much about writing often. It’s usually that I want more detail because I’m greedy and always caving more detail. However, I found myself trying to figure out why there was just random vocabulary that didn’t blend in some parts, as if certain words were just put in to beef of the writing. But, they didn’t do that. They just made it weird. Having to reread some of the sentences, my face got screwy here and there. The vocabulary interrupted the flow and the flow interrupted me trying to get into the story…you know how that goes. That can make you want to chuck the book across the room.

 

Overall

I wish so much that my feelings about this book weren’t so disturbed. I imagine there are quite a few people out there that enjoyed this book and that’s fine because this is their kind of thing. It’s not mine. I’m donating this book so fast that it’ll be like I never owned it. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose when you branch out. I’m not proud of bad reviews that I make, not proud of how they make me appear, but I believe in honesty and that sometimes there isn’t enough sugar to coat something if it’s really really bad. Sorry, but no, not really sorry.

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Open by Rhye.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Bringing 2018 to a Close – My Top Ten Reads of the Year

My bookworms!

2018 is coming to its official close. I don’t know about you, but it’s been one long ass year for me. I wish I could say it had been a good one, but more than anything it’s been a struggle. There have been many up and many downs.

The New Year is upon us though! Soo, I wash away 2018 and welcome 2019.

While doing that, I have my big wrap up of the year where I give you my top ten reads! There were quite a few good books, but here are the ones that drove me crazy, made my heart explode, made me rage in the cage, made me drink (and 1. I’m talking about you), made me fall into puddly love.

Starting at 10…

 

10. We All Looked Up
Author: Tommy Wallach

We All Looked Up

 

9. The Rules of Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman

The Rules of Magic

 

8. Summer of Fear
Author: Lois Duncan

Summer of Fear - SR

 

7. 1984
Author: George Orwell

1984 - flavorwire

 

6. Children of Blood and Bone
Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Children of Blood and Bone

 

6. Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game

 

4. Smoke and Iron
Author: Rachel Caine

Smoke and Iron

 

3. The Darkest Star
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Scarlet Reader - The Darkest Child

 

2. Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber

Caraval

 

1. Dark Calling
Author: Kresley Cole
Dark Calling

 

My Year in books on Goodreads: Here.

 

2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Fall From Grace (Kissed by an Angel – A Book Review)

Kissed by an Angel (#1-3)
Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Published: 1998

On Goodreads

Kissed by an Angel

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

25/25

 

A love beyond life…a danger beyond doubt.

After a tragic car accident that killed her boyfriend, Tristan, Ivy is barely hanging on. She can’t seem to move on and her belief in angels is gone. She doesn’t understand why she is alive and he is not. They had a love that was meant to be and now she’s empty. Her new stepbrother Gabriel is there to pick up the pieces, and maybe more…

But when Tristan comes back as an angel he struggles to reach out to Ivy. She’s lost. She can’t feel his presence at all. Through her friends, he hopes to make contact with her. It’s imperative that he does because her life is in danger. He’s learned that the car accident wasn’t an accident at all. Somebody tried to kill Ivy and they still want her dead.

Tristan will do whatever it takes to protect Ivy, even let her go and move on without him. First, he’s going to find out who killed him.

 

This book marks 25 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution. I’m a sucker for a sweet story with a side of forever and love. It’s a guilty pleasure. And it’s even better if there’s that element that makes it complicated. You know, like death.

           

Like The Vampire Diaries, this book hales from the 90s. I could actually see this becoming a show sometime. It’s got all of the plotlines to become addicting.

Lose your love.

Do anything to get it back.

Lose it again.

Move on.

Realize it’s all you ever needed.

Then, finale, after all of the pain and sorrow and hell you put everyone else through so you didn’t have to be alone in it, you two end up together forever…probably dead.

Let’s be honest, we thrive of that high-octane drama of betrayal and love and longing that twists the heart. We cling to our seats for it because it makes us feel.

I don’t know about anyone else who’s read this, but I got Elena Gilbert vibes. She and Ivy could be best friends in their brooding and mooning over their loves. The romance between Ivy and Tristan is certainly one of those forever kinds and definitely beyond the grave types.

Ivy was so broken hearted and I had a great appreciation for seeing her try to work through it. It didn’t just pass by like it was nothing. The heartache was deep. It was very realistic. And though it was realistic, it also dragged the story out a bit too much, coming off too repetitive at times. I was forced to do a dreadful thing. Skim in some places. Ick.

Scarlet Reader - Kissed by an Angel

Tristan, her great, true love, was such a heartbreaker (as in my heart broke for him) and a goofball. Totally sweet and everything you’d hope for in a good boy. The kind that hold the door open for you and lets you have his hoodie when you’re cold. Yup, that guy. Swoon, girls. He’s a keeper. And he’s now dead, so it’s also super freaking tragic.

Scarlet Reader - Kissed by an Angel

The side characters were an array of likes and dislikes. If I had to pick one that really grinded me up, it was Suzanne. She’s one of Ivy’s best friends and she acted like a real…argh! She got so jealous and petty about Gabriel, the creep, because that’s who she decided to get moony over. I got so fed up with her that I wanted to reach into the pages and smack her. Kudos on provoking that out of me. There’s one of those characters in every book.

This is a setting that we all know. High school. Home. Very simple and to the point. Very teen drama perfection. And don’t worry about the money because every family in this book was well off! It was the high school romance that we all know lasts forever that was important.

Sorry, dashed a bit of sarcasm in there. That romance is easy to get swept up in. The setting of the story just came out bland and the character interactions didn’t do well in coming out more important. In fact. It felt as if the setting wasn’t important at all, throwing the story off balance. It was just splashed in there like it was no big deal, which was strange since Ivy’s mother getting married led to a whole change of scenery and that’s a big deal. It all came across bland.

Scarlet Reader - GiferThe style is what I call classic. It’s longing and reminds me of CW shows. The drama is sky high. You get all of that ooey-gooey and heartbreak as well as a crap ton of frustration. This is also where ships began. I can just imagine how people would argue about who Tristan should be with and who Ivy should be with. And the OTPs, oh my.

The way chapters or books would end at weird place threw me off though. It felt as if they’d cut off in random spots like—Oh! This is as good a place as any! Buuuut, uh, no because instead of feeling the cliffhanger that I’m sure was intended, I felt confused. Some parts just moved too fast for me to get a handle on. It left me reeling and trying figure out—Wait, what happened? How? When? Huh?

I will say this. I got shocked a few times. There weren’t shock around every corner, but I got stunned good a few times! Like, whoa.

 

Overall

This was a sweet and tender book, well all three in the one. LOL. I can’t say I have a desperation to finish the series. I’m not clinging to dear life. But they were nice. I have the fourth one and look forward to reading it. In the end, when it comes down to finishing it, if I come across the final book then yay! if not then I’m not feeling too bad about it.

 

Quotables:

“One day she’d have the nerve to say it, all of the words out loud.”(Kissed by an Angel, p. 2)

“Your problem is that you take it all too seriously, Ivy. Romance is a game, just a game.”(Kissed by an Angel, p. 65)

“Ivy realized for the first time that the more you love, the more you hurt. What was worse, you hurt for him as well as yourself.” (Kissed by an Angel, p. 114)

“Life goes on, and you’ve got to get on with it!” (The Power of Love, p. 112)

 

 More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Sweet Creature by Harry Styles.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Time is Running Out (The Time Keeper – A Book Review)

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas!🎄🦖 Mine was filled with four tiny humans that know destruction very well, my two nieces and two nephews. Being I don’t get to see them but every few years, it was great to see them. The food was amazing, even though I’m not big on ham. LOL. 

And, if you’re like me, you’re also glad Christmas is over. Haha.  

Love you all, precious bookworms.


The Time Keeper
Author: Mitch Albom
Published: 2012

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - Time Keeper

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

24/25

 

Soon Father Time will be free

To return to Earth

And finish what he started.

Inventor of the world’s first clock and then punished seeking to manipulate time. Forced to hear millions over the course of centuries talk about time and how there just isn’t enough. Dor is Father Time.

In order to be freed, he will have to help two people who have misunderstood and lost the meaning of time. One wants to live forever after figuring out that his illness is terminal. The other is ready to give up after being cyber-bullied.

Time is one thing that Dor doesn’t have enough of, but he hopes that he can help them before he himself becomes lost.

 

This book marks 24 out of 25 authors, from my New Year’s resolution, Mitch Albom is an author that I’ve heard much about, The Five People You Meet in Heaven being one of his most popular books. Hearing so many great things, I finally gave him a shot.

 

This book plucked at my heartstrings with tenderness and meaning. That being said, this book didn’t punch me to any extremes with my emotions. It was sweet and even made my heart ache with some very real issues, but that was about it. I don’t have much to gush about sadly.

Shrug II

The theme of time was pretty fascinating. Albom approached it from several angles. The most prominent ones were cutting time short and wanting it to last forever. Time is important. It’s not something to be wasted or to be taken for granted. It is also immeasurable and something that should, in a sense, be treasured. When it’s been used, there’s no going back.

Scarlet Reader

Several characters were sprawled throughout the book. From Sarah and Victor, struggling with their personal issues to Dor, the Father of Time, who’s history explores how he came to be this enigmatic force that reaches out to help two people find realize what they’re giving up. Each of the stories collided, showing that fate works in interesting ways sometimes.

Sarah was way out there, overreaching in many ways that made me cringe. I’ve been lovesick before, but geez, she really made me want to crawl under a rock from how embarrassing she was. But, aren’t we all like that sometimes. Victor was bitter and didn’t cherish what he had enough, and also came across selfish. It was saddening because he had more than what many other do. But to see that these two came to their senses was fulfilling, sure. I kind of figured they would when I started the book. LOL.

 

Overall

This book was nice, like sitting by a warm fire with a cup of tea for a while. It just didn’t grasp my full heart. Reading it once was enough for me. There are certainly plenty of meaningful moments from this that I will take with me as I continue to grow.

 

Quotables:

“Try to imagine a life without timekeeping.” (p. 8)

“Mankind is connected in ways it does not understand—even in dream.” (p. 73)

“Ends are for yesterdays, not tomorrows.” (p.195)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? Cups by Anna Kendrick

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.