Big Little Lies on BTT and Thursday Quotables

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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Greetings! Iv'e been a bit lazy with the weekly features the past couple of weeks. But at least I can honestly say I've spend that time reading. Mostly. Okay, about half of that time. Let's make it a third and call it quits. 

Seeing that it's a freebie day on Book Traveling Thursdays, I can wallow in my laziness and just combine this week's BTT with Thursday Quotables hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

I haven't binge read in ages, so last week Saturday was like going for coffee with a near and dear friend who you haven't spend time with in some time. And I am so glad to report that I've spend some real quality time with these lovely friends:

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Know these ladies? By now - who doesn't? It's just me who came a bit late to the party. Or in this case, the trivia night.  

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was first published in July 2014. This was the original cover:


I actually have no idea what was the cover that first appeared in South Africa, but I do know that the following one is currently easily available in all major and minor bookstores in SA:


Yup, it's my coffee friends once again. Nicole Kidman as Celeste, Reese Witherspoon as Madeline and Shailene Woodley as Jane. Let's have a look at a few other covers:

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The first two are kindle editions and the third one is the Romanian edition. I like the flower breaking instead of the candy breaking on the original cover. Nice alternative.

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From left to right: The Portuguese cover is the type of cover I skip without even glancing at the title or author. So that has to be my least favorite one. The Swedish cover reminds me of the cover for Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and there is just no similarities between the two books, so that is also a no from me. The Croatian one is quite nice. I like the delicate flower, it's like the truth. Something that doesn't come very easily in this novel. The Danish cover is a bit mediocre, but not all bad.  

I wanted to read this book long before the TV mini-series came out, but I'm actually glad I didn't. Went from binge reading to binge watching. This really is a fun and easy read. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and biting your nails, but it still leaves you thinking. There is very strong underlying theme here and Madeline pinpointed it very well:

Image result for big little lies reese witherspoon"There were so many levels of evil in the world. Some evils, like her own malicious words. Like not inviting a child to a party. Bigger evils like walking out on your wife and newborn baby or sleeping with your child's nanny. And then there was the sort of evil of which Madeline had no experience: cruelty in hotel rooms and violence in suburban homes and little girls being sold like merchandise, shattering innocent hearts."


Have you read Big Little Lies? And watched the mini-series?

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How We Found You by J.T. Lawrence

Thursday, May 18, 2017

35107691Title: How We Found You
Author: J.T. Lawrence

Series: When tomorrow calls (Book 2)
Publication date: 18 May 2017 (Today!!! Launch day is TODAY!!)
Read: May 11 - 18, 2015
Genre: Thriller; Science Fiction (Futuristic)
Mareli's rating: 4 Stars
Recommend to: Have you read Why you were taken? 
There’s something different about Kate’s four-year-old son. He wasn’t created the old fashioned way. Now a violent cult wants him dead and Kate will do anything to protect him – until they take her daughter.
In tomorrow’s world, Kate is haunted by a brutal past. Struggling to navigate a life that seems like an experiment in virtual reality, her paranoia threatens to consume her. But when someone tries to kidnap Mally, she realizes she was absolutely right to be afraid. With only hours to go before the cult's prophecy is to be fulfilled, Kate and Seth face more danger than they’ve ever imagined, desperate to keep him safe. However, the charismatic leader of the cult has other ideas, which puts Kate in an impossible position. Who will she choose to live, and who will she have to sacrifice? Amazon
Browsing through my Goodreads Read Shelf, I came to realize that I haven't read a series back to back in years. Oh what bliss, what a thrill - how quickly can the next one be available Janita Lawrence?

How we found you starts about 4 years after Why You Were Taken ended. Kate (she doesn't go by Kirsten anymore) and her long-lost twin brother, Seth (he still answers to Seth), are reunited and share an apartment with Kate's two small children, Mally and Silver. Life and all its trimmings in the not-so-distant-future in South Africa, can be obtained with the click of a button. 
"Consumption used to be the name of an illness. Was it TB? Something to do with breathing: gram by gram, a disease that slowly consumed you. Consumption is a different kind of sickness now."
Some old familiar faces like Keke and Marko brace us with their presence as well. Keke is still the ultimate sniffer-dog and some of the best parts of this book, were the court proceedings where Keke was on Jury Duty.
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Courtrooms of the future
Loved it. Somebody (come now Janita, I'm talking to you) should write a courtroom drama with holograms and Virtual Reality re-enactments and remote controlled jury-voting devices. During these procedures, we've met a new character, Zack. Hmmmmmm..... hard to explain this one. Do you know this guy:
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If you know him, you'll know Zack. I have a lot of faith in him to become one of my favorite fictional heroes. But let's get back to our main character, Kate.
 I like this Kate, she is a bit screwed-up, but hey - who wouldn't be after what she had to endure. As with Why you were taken, it is exactly this strong, realistic character portrayals that makes J.T. Lawrence a writing force to be reckoned with.
 Kate should be thrilled to have two such beautiful children. I mean really, who wouldn't want to have a printed baby? So why is she so damn paranoid? Honey, trust your mommy-instincts. The Good Lord (although there isn't much evidence of any believe in the Supremacy here) gave you those instincts for a reason.
"Trust no one"
No one can be trusted, especially when it comes to your children. Kate's paranoia is rightfully justified when Marko and Keke uncovers that somebody is really trying to harm her children, especially Mally. As in Why you were taken, Kate turns into a fierce warrior queen who will stop at nothing to save her children. 

How we found you is a fast paced sequel to an equally intriguing book and in my opinion (not that it counts for very much), it is even better. Maybe it's the endings of the two books. I remember when I finished Why you were taken, I thought the book could have ended a few pages "earlier". Just to leave you with a bit more anticipation. How we found you is more than making up for that. Talk about a cliffhanger..... 

I received this book as an ARC from the lovely author and no, she did not have a gun against my head or a sword against my neck for a review. 


Trivia!:  "How much is that doggy in the window?" Please, please can I have a Robopup? 


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TTT: "Bring me her heart!" said every Stepmom in history

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

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Ever since The Evil Queen uttered those damning words, we have all been terrified of Stepmoms. I for one, was much more afraid of The Evil Queen than I was of the Devil in the Children's Bible. No jokes. 

I didn't get to celebrate Mother's Day on Sunday. But I do have a number of wonderful friends who all got to spend the day with their children. Some of those friends are stepmoms or a stepmom-to-be real soon. When I saw today's theme for Top Ten Tuesday (Mother's Day Related), I immediately thought of my dearest stepmom friends. Are they all evil? I honestly don't think so.  But yes, I do believe their only request is: "Bring me her/his heart!". Maybe just not literally all the time. Sometimes they really just want to capture their stepchildren's hearts.Thankfully Literature, the wisest of all, agrees with me. Let's have a look at a few notable Stepmoms in literature:

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1. Jess Thomas in the The One Plus One. Jess is one of my favorite characters in literature and if if wasn't for Louisa Clark, she might have been my favorite Jojo Moyes character. Imagine you marry a guy with a kid and after a few years that bastard walks out on you AND the kid. She did a great job. Hats off to her.

2. Katie in Safe Haven. Maybe she's more of  a stepmom-to-be (they did end up living happily ever after right?). But the relationship that Katie built with Alex's two young children was nicely portrayed in this story. And she did have a little help from her friend and neighbor, Jo.

3. Maria in The Sound of Music. A captain with seven children, what's so fearsome about that? Maria von Trapp might just be the best stepmom ever. 

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4. Mrs Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. The anti-EvilQueen. Her husband dies and in this case the evil stepmom and and evil stepsisters are wronged by that other hateful character in literature: The daughter-in-law.

5. Breakfast at Tiffany's. Say what? Holly Golightly was a stepmom? She sure was honey. And she would have fitted in quite nicely with the next lot:

6. The Second Wives Club

The next couple of Stepmoms I haven't met personally, but I've picked them up on Goodreads and made a quick call to my nearest and dearest friend, Mrs Google:

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In her shoes by Jennifer Weiner
Love and other impossible pursuits
The Stepmother's Support Group
The land of Forgotten Girls

Yes, I did pick them all for the lovely titles and covers. And maybe I'll have one or two of these over for a nice cup of tea. 


Talk to me! Who's your favorite Stepmom in history?

This post links up with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish. Remember to ad your link and to visit the other Top Ten Tuesday participants!

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Friday Meets - 12 May 2017

Friday, May 12, 2017

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My goodness - it's Friday again. Time sure flies lately, but are we having fun? As long as there's a book lying on your bedside table and a kindle in your bag, of course we are!

Meet me on Friday @ Friday 56 for a bit of Book Blogger Hop to kick-start the weekend with Book Beginnings.

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice. For this date, you will need the following:

  • Grab a book (Yes, any book. But it might get you to your other Friday activities a bit quicker if you just grab the book you are currently reading)
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader
  • Find a sentence or two (your other Friday activities might determine this)
  • Post it!
  • Remember to post your link on Freda's Voice and to visit the other guys in the linky.
  • And don't forget to list the title of the book and the author as well.
A couple of weeks ago, I featured a South African book, Why you were taken by J.T. Lawrence. Man, you need to read that book. One word. Awesome. And the best part of all is that the second book in the series, How we found you, will be released next week! 


35107691"All of those in agreement that the accused, Mack Lundy, is innocent of murder, please register your vote now." 
The jurors all look down at the remotes in their hands and tap buttons. Four spinning green votes go up on the holoscreen.
"And those who agree that he is guilty, please vote now."
Five red points on the board.

Imagine if that will be the future of jury duty! 

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Love it! I am almost done with the book, I'll hologram my review (oh that's not the right word? Sorry.... technosaurus here)

Let's join Gilion @ Rose City Reader now for Book Beginnings. Every Friday we share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

Still with How we found you (This series is really great guys. Read it)

Kate looks up from her holoscreen and blinks hard. How long has she been online? She only meant to look up a recipe for a quick dinner but has fallen into a rabbit hole quilled with xlinks. The open tab leaves all nipping for attention. Animated 4DHD in hypercolour floating before her - or as Seth calls it: Rainbow Crack. 

Not everything in that opening paragraph is futuristic. We already fall down the rabbit hole when we just quickly want to look up a recipe. Or search for reviews. Or books. 

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As always, I will also be joining the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Ramblings of a coffee addicted writer. Every week they will pop a question that you need to answer. Post your answer to your blog, enter your post to the linky provided, make yourself a cup of coffee and go visit the other blogs in the list. 

Today's questions: If you read a book you ended up hating, would you stay away from future books by that author, or would you give them a second chance?

My Answer: Seeing that I am on jury duty here today: If the defendant is an author I've never read before, I will most probably press the red button and send him/her to eternal damnation. 

If the defendant is an author that I have read before and enjoyed, I'll most probably press the green button and give him/her a second chance. 

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Talk to me! -  What's your verdict? And what are you reading over the weekend?

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Misverstand deur Marita van der Vyver

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Titel: Misverstand
Skrywer: Marita van der Vyver
Uitgewer: Penguin Random House SA
Publikasie datum: Maart 2017
Bladsye: 270 (sagteband)
My gradering: 2 Sterre
Beveel aan vir lesers van: Marita van der Vyver (dis nie 'n genre nie, ek weet, maar dit is 'n onmisbare stem). As jy worstel met die vraag, Wroeg jy met jou middelmatigheid? 
Kort opsomming: 
Willem Prins bewandel die strate van Parys. Eens was hy op koers om ’n gerekende skrywer in Suid-Afrika te word, maar na jare se probeer wink die koue water van die Seine – miskien sal sy verdrinking sy boekverkope bietjie opstoot, dink ’n swartgallige Willem.
Tot sy skaamte is dit die erotika wat hy onder ’n skuilnaam skryf wat hom na Frankryk gebring het. Terug na die stad waar een van sy drie eksvroue saam met sy oudste seun woon, ’n jong man wat sy pa skaars ken.
Vir Willem is Parys nie juis die stad van liefde nie, maar dit is hier waar hy vir Jackie ontmoet, ’n jong Suid-Afrikaner wat as au pair werk. Dit is ook sy wat saam met hom is dié Vrydagaand die dertiende toe terreur in Parys losbars.
Misverstand is die dertiende roman van een van Suid-Afrika se gewildste skrywers. ’n Roman oor die ontnugtering van die middeljare, die lewe se onweerswolke wat dikwels dreig, en oor bande tussen mense wat beskut. Goodreads

Ek lees nie genoeg Afrikaans nie. Tot daardie slotsom het ons reeds vroeg in hierdie blog se geskiedenis gekom. Ja, my streng Gereformeerde agtergrond laat my met die aankoop en optel van elke engelse boek voel of ek hardop vir die ouetehuis moet gaan lees om te verootmoedig vir my boek keuses. Daar is egter twee uitsonderdings: Deon Meyer en Marita van der Vyver. Ek koop, ek lees, ek vertel. Ek is trots Afrikaans. 

Die van ons wat maar altyd bewus is van wat in Marita van der Vyver se skryflewe aangaan, wag al geruime tyd vir die publikasie van Misverstand. Ek dink nie ek is die enigste Marita aanhanger wat haar boeke as persoonlike vriende ervaar nie. Ek was in Graad 11 toe Die dinge van 'n kind gepubliseer is. Reeds toe het ek geweet: "Stick with me baby...." 

13 November 2015 word die wereld geruk deur die tereuraanvalle in Parys (2015 Paris attacks). Soos met 9/11 sit ons almal vasgenael voor die kassie en bepeins ons eie verganklikheid. 16 November 2015 plaas Marita van der Vyver daar uit die puin- en pynhope van Frankryk die volgende artikel op Litnet:

Soms is woorde nie genoeg nie - lees dit. Al het jy reeds van te vore. Ag en ek huil sommer snot en trane. Want Marita se woorde is altyd genoeg.

Het ek nou genoeg heuning om die pyl van die waarheid gesmeer? Daar is duidelikheid dat ek Marita van der Vyver se deugde beter as Salomo kan besing? Want die waarheid is dat Misverstand vir my 'n misverstand was. 

Moontlik mis ek iets hier. Moontlik is my worstelstryd tans teen baie meer dinge as net my eie middelmatigheid en iriteer die orige ou omie wie se dinges hom heeltemal te veel pla my net grensloos. Moontlik is ek soos Maurice, Willem se vervreemde seun in Parys, net nie tans lus om my voete nat te maak nie en gaan daar maar 'n ewige misverstand tussen my en hierdie boek wees.

Die arme Willem gaan seker werklik deur 'n vreeslike worstelstryd (sien wat ek bedoel met persoonlike vriende?), hy is "iemand wat van onvervulde beloftes en vergeefse probeerslae aan mekaar geplak is". Maar ek het sy karakter so effens as Uilspieël ervaar en ek kon net regtig min tot geen empatie vir die man kry. 

Aangesien ons nou aan die pyle skiet is hier - dit was die eerste keer wat ek 'n Marita van der Vyver boek lees waar ek nie juis van enige karakter gehou het nie. Marita se kenmerkende noem-'n-graaf-op-sy-naam (call a spade a spade) stem was ook gebruiklik en onmisbaar teenwoordig. Gewoonlik pla dit my nie juis nie en raak dit "eie" aan die storie en karakters. Maar in hierdie boek het die spreekwoordelike graaf my met tye dwars in die krop gesteek en vir Misverstand 'n gat gegrou (My opinie. Ek is nie een van die wat die evangelie van 'n boek bepaal nie, so jy hoef jou nie daaraan te steur nie).

Marita van der Vyver het die kuns om 'n "slice of life"-storie te vertel, al vele male vervolmaak. Die tipe stories waar daar nie werklik so baie gebeurtenisse as ervarings is nie. A slice of life. Koek en icing stories. In Misverstand was daar 'n effense misverstand tussen die koek en die icing. Van die een was daar te min, van die ander te veel. 

Genadiglik is ons nie tans besig met Koekedoor nie en gaan ek beslis nie die bakker aan die koek op die tafel meet nie. Ek herhaal, my ervaring van die boek is moontlik net tans en ook net 'n blote misverstand. Lees gerus die volgende resensies deur kenners wat boeke en bes moontlik ook koeke, baie beter ken en verstaan: 


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Why you were taken by J.T. Lawrence

Sunday, May 7, 2017

34564330Title: Why You Were Taken
Author: J.T. Lawrence
Published by: Pulp Books
Publication date: 29 March 2015
Read: April 25 - April 30, 2015
Genre: Thriller; Science Fiction (Futuristic)
Pages: 358
ISBN:  9780620655583
Mareli's rating: 3.5 stars
Recommend to: Sci-fi junkies who love the thrill of something "different". J.T. Lawrence's fan-club (this woman can write!)
Description: In tomorrow's world prowls a creative and ruthlessly efficient assassin who won't stop until Kirsten is killed. A troubled woman approaches Kirsten with a warning and a key and is later found dead. Was the woman just another victim of the Suicide Contagion or is there something more sinister at play? The key leads Kirsten to the Doomsday Vault and a hit list of seven people - and her barcode is on it. Edgy and original, Why You Were Taken is a dark cinematic thriller that will keep you guessing till the last page. Goodreads 

Nah, that blurb just doesn't do enough justice to this book. Let's try this one: 

Jo’burg city is shimmering with a bitterbright tension, the perfect playground for a scarred, creative, and extremely efficient assassin.
Kirsten is a roaming, restless synaesthete: an awarded photographer with bad habits and a fertility problem. Her life has been defined by what she calls her ‘Black Hole’: a painful hollow feeling where her heart should be.
Seth is a brilliant chemgineer and loyal member of Alba: an underground biopunk Truther organisation that exposes corporate bullies and black clinics. He has the hollow feeling too, but fills it with other things, like the drugs he designs, and women in ridiculous shoes.
Kirsten and Seth don’t know each other, but they seem to be connected; they feel echoes of one another.
At once familiar and bizarre, adorned by litter bunting and broken pavements, South Africa in 2021 is beset by a relentless drought and a fertility crisis. When Kirsten’s journo friend Keke uncovers some cryptic information, they team up to investigate, and discover that Kirsten’s parents were actually her abductors, and that she is one of a twin.
A strange, muttering woman with dog hair on her jersey approaches Kirsten with a warning, and is found dead shortly afterwards. The police attribute it to the Suicide Contagion.
The warning leads Kirsten and Keke to the Doomsday Vault and a hit list of seven people – and Kirsten’s barcode is on it. The twins are re-united – ironically – by the poisoned list, but as the bodies of the other victims begin surfacing they realize how real their jeopardy is.
 Goodreads (Smashwords edition)

What makes a book a good read? I'm sure that all us have our own opinions and we can all make a list (because Bloggers just love making lists), but I only have 2 and they are either or (books with both are better than Christmas):

1. A book is written sooooo beautifully with such poetic prose and a mesmerizing story that you prolong the process of reading, for this book must last as long as possible. OR 

2. There is nothing special about this book, except that it is extremely intriguing and keeps you turning the pages as quickly as possible for you need to know what is going on here.

BONUS: It is infinitely google-able 

Why you were taken mainly falls under the second reason and the bonus point is a sure win. 

Jo'burg 2021. (Google: Johannesburg, South Africa. And check out Zoo City by Lauren Beukes on Goodreads. It also deals with a "different" Johannesburg.)

Meet Kirsten. She's an award-winning photographer and a synesthete with a fertility problem. (Google: Synesthesia, but never mind all the fertility lingo. Nothing I don't know)
"How come those creeps are fertile, she thinks, when I'm not?"
Meet Seth. The brilliant chemical engineer who is a kind of James Bond agent for a Truther organisation who exposes corporate bullies and black clinics. Although he doesn't share the same dashingly handsome, suited, shaken not stirred appearance of James Bond, they do share the same libido. (Google: uhmmmm.....  just read the book. Similar to Kristen, I'm also a bit of a technosaur).

Kirsten and Seth don't know each other. But they both know a black hole and a persistent sense of loss. 

The story is told through different characters, times and situations, all seemingly unconnected, but the pace is fast enough for all to fall in place at just the right time to keep you intrigued. 

As the story opens, we immediately know that the main character, Kirsten, is dealing with a tremendous trauma that spins her whole life in a new direction. She finds herself questioning every single aspect of her past, present and future life. Her search for the answers to the never ending question 'why' leads her to people and situations she would never have imagined. Kirsten's character development throughout the story is what carries the plot. And spins it a bit out of control for me and cost Lawrence half a star. I've pictured Kirsten's character a bit like Casandra in The Librarians (yes, the red hair, beautiful features and something "strange" about this one, did have something to do with it), but she ended up looking like a seriously bad-ass Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road. (Yes, the shaved head and the ultimate-survivor-don't-mess-with-me attitude did have something to do with it).

Image result for the librarians cassandra Image result for charlize theron mad max costume

But that's just my personal opinion and not necessarily a bad thing at all. In fact, I know it is exactly this type of character development and her reaction to unimaginable actions that puts Why you were taken in league with the big futuristic-thriller runners. 

Lawrence creates a future that is not all that unimaginable. Some of her addressed issues are likely to become a lot more serious over the next decade: water and energy scarcity, population growth, hover bikes and other technology that will blow your mind and the big one - the human race's ever persistent quest to play God and to beat Him.

This book dealt with some serious morality issues that left me pondering that nagging question: How far will I go? If someone can hand me my greatest desire literally on a silver platter - will I take it? No questions asked? It took me a few days to decide. 

 Now that's what I want from a book! That's a good read.

Why you were taken is the first book in the futuristic suspense series 'When Tomorrow Calls'. The second book, How we found you will be available end of May 2017. 

J.T. LawrenceJT Lawrence is an Amazon bestselling, genre-hopping, female-protagonist-loving author (and playwright) based in Parkhurst, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is the mother of two small boys and a baby girl, and lives in a house with a red front door. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Just follow the links @ Pulpbooks
Other reviews on Why you were taken:


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Library Card May 2017

Monday, May 1, 2017

Greetings! Another month has passed and it's been a rather hectic time at the new house. Renovations and alterations and gardening and all those housy thingies that keep you from reading and blogging. So when the looong weekend in SA finally arrived on Thursday, I was all excited to just relax and take it easy.  I actually had a number of posts planned and all the books from April's Library Card lined up for completion. Alas.... Maybe this house is haunted. It keeps beckoning to me. It keeps pulling me away from the books.....

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Nah. Or at least I don't think so. I love my new house. Nothing weird here. Or scary. 

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I'm just making excuses for not completing my Library List. But let's have a quick look at what I did finish in April:

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Stacking the Shelves in April: 

I've had my eye on the weekly feature, Stacking the shelves, hosted by Tynga's Reviews for quite some time. I've decided to incorporate it with my Library Card.Because that is exactly what you do in a library: Stack and unstack the books. 

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Purchased (or even better - for free!)

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ARC's and Giveaways

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Book Club

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The Signature of all things by Elizabeth Gilbert - I am still reading this one.

Let's see what is on my Library Card for May 2017:

Paperback/Hardcover (both from my Book Club)

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I'm not going to put anymore books on this month's Library Card. If I get to finish these five, I'll have faith in my own reading abilities again and I won't have to go ghost hunting anymore. If not, I might have to call in the experts.

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This post links up with Stacking the Shelves and It's Monday! What are you reading? Hosted by The Book Date. Remember to add your linkies and to visit the other participants! 

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Wishing you all a great week and reading month ahead.


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