Category: Books/Writing

Feb 27

Down the TBR Hole #14

Books/Writing 0

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. As of today, I have 616 (the same number I started with LAST week). So let’s see how this one goes. Up this week are numbers 72-76 of my original list. Covers link to GoodReads!

 

 

Title/Author: All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

Date Added: December 28, 2014

Thoughts: I’m slightly suspicious of this being some kind of Nazi romance, but it has SO MANY stellar reviews I’ll have to try it at some point.

Judgment: Keep.

 

 

 

Title/Author: I Shall Be Near to You, by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Date Added: December 28, 2014

Thoughts: I was going to keep this, then I happened to read a review that had some spoilers (they were tagged, and I read anyway), and they were things that would really, really have bothered me about the book. Also an excerpt I read had the characters “talking” in a written-out accent, which always annoys me.

Judgment: Go.

 

 

 


Title/Author
: Stolen (Women of the Otherworld #2), by Kelley Armstrong

Date Added: December 28, 2014

Thoughts: I read the first one of this series and while it’s nothing spectacular it was a fun, well-written book. Brain candy that doesn’t grate on my grammar-fanatic tendencies.

Judgment: Keep. Also find a copy.

 

 

 

 

 

Title/Author: What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1), by C.S. Harris

Date Added: December 30, 2014

Thoughts: Recommended by Sharon K. Penman…and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her!

Judgment: Keep.

 

 

 


Title/Author
: Denyse Schmidt Quilts, by Denise Schmidt

Date Added: January 4, 2015

Thoughts: While I would like to have this book on my shelf for reference, it’s not one I would sit down and read front to back.

Judgment: Go.

 

 

There we have it! 2/5 seems to be my new normal. Hehe. Now if I could just cut down on the number I add each week!

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Feb 22

Writing Up Wednesday #5: What’s Your POV?

Books/Writing 5

writing up wednesday

Welcome to the next week of Writing Up Wednesday! I’ve been so excited to see more people participating in this, I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂 Besides the writing I do for my blog, I’ve also started writing fiction again this year. NaNoWriMo 2016 really kicked me into gear and got me excited about writing again. It’s an excitement that I hope will last, and there’s no better way than to keep motivation up than to share it! I know a lot of my blogger friends also have writing goals outside of their blogs. Week to week I want to discuss various different topics related to writing, and I’ll put a link-up at the bottom of each topic post. This week we have:

Writing Up Wednesday #5: What’s Your POV?

Point-of-view can make or break a book. The right one draws you in, gives you just enough information to keep you entertained and reading to see what happens next. The wrong one is nails on the chalkboard of your brain. If you’re not familiar with the different POVs, there’s an awesome, detailed article here on Novel Writing Help. There are 3 main POVs in fiction: first-person (a huge favorite in YA fiction), third-person limited, and third-person omniscient. I’m not going to get into a breakdown here – there are TONS of helpful articles around the web for that. So for now, think about your current WIP. Are you consistent with your POV, or do you use multiples? If so, do you handle it in a way that won’t confuse your reader? How did you settle on your POV?

I didn’t give a whole lot of thought to the POV in my current novel, to be honest. It just was. It just happened, and it felt completely right. I’m using a third person limited perspective, that of my MC. As it’s a fantasy, I can see some additional characters maybe jockeying for a turn eventually. Like my dragon. Pretty sure she will have a voice of her own that needs airing more than just as a side character. As it is, while I’ve done a LOT of her character development, both in my head and in written character sketches – I haven’t actually written her into the novel yet!

Personally, I don’t care for writing in the first person. It just feels…odd, to me. I can read it alright, but I think it’s a more difficult POV to do WELL. A lot of writers try to tell the reader things through the first-person, that that character simply wouldn’t know.

I can’t wait to hear from all you guys and what your thoughts are on this topic! Be sure to add your link to the widget. 🙂

 

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Feb 20

Down the TBR Hole #13

Books/Writing 3

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. As of today, I have 616. This week I added QUITE a few! Eeeek. But I just found some that I couldn’t pass up. So let’s see how the culling goes. Up this week are numbers 67-71 of my original list. Covers link to GoodReads!

 


Title/Author
: The Anatomist’s Wife, by Anna Lee Huber

Date Added: August 20, 2014

Thoughts: This still sounds intriguing. However, I tend to have unrealistically high expectations of historical mysteries, and this review is really turning me off. Nobody got time for that…that, in this case, being cheesy writing.

Judgment: Go.

 

 

 

 


Title/Author
: The Girl in the Steel Corset, by Kady Cross

Date Added: September 4, 2014

Thoughts: Despite the slightly eyebrow-raising cover (thank god for no muscle-bound male though), this still sounds fascinating.

Judgment: Keep.

 

 

 

 

Title/Author: Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare

Date Added: September 4, 2014

Thoughts: Despite my abandoning of the Mortal Instruments series in the middle of book 3 (angst much…I couldn’t take it), I still really enjoyed the first two books and am very intrigued by the world and characters. Also, lots of people have said this trilogy is better than the longer series.

Judgment: Keep.

 

 

 


Title/Author
: The Madman’s Daughter, by Megan Shepherd

Date Added: September 4, 2014

Thoughts: This still sounds like a hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-standing-up good book.

Judgment: Keep.

 

 

 

 

 

Title/Author: Code of Honor, by Andrea Pickens

Date Added: November 27, 2014

Thoughts: What is this? How did this get on my TBR? I honestly have no memory of ever even SEEING this book or description before…

Judgment: Go!

 

 

 

 

Well, 2/5 won’t quite catch me up from all the ones I added this week, but it’ll help. How are you guys doing?

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Feb 16

Writing Up Wednesday #4: What Genre is Your Novel…or Does It Even Have One??

Books/Writing 7

what genre is your novel

Welcome to the fourth week of Writing Up Wednesday! I’ve been so excited to see more people participating in this, I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂 I’m thinking of publishing the next several topics in a list so that it’s possible to plan posts, so keep an eye out for that.

Besides the writing I do for my blog, I’ve also started writing fiction again this year. NaNoWriMo 2016 really kicked me into gear and got me excited about writing again. It’s an excitement that I hope will last, and there’s no better way than to keep motivation up than to share it! I know a lot of my blogger friends also have writing goals outside of their blogs. Week to week I want to discuss various different topics related to writing, and I’ll put a link-up at the bottom of each topic post. This week we have:

Writing Up Wednesday #4: What Genre is Your Novel…or Does It Even Have One?

We would all love to write a bestselling novel, one that appeals to several different audiences and that everyone loves, right? The ever-elusive “crossover novel.” A quick Google turns up the idea that most of the time, at least currently, when people talk about crossover books they mean a crossover between YA and adult fiction. I have to admit that kind of boggled me for a moment, because that’s not at all what first comes to mind when I think of crossover books – I first think of books that don’t fit in any single genre, regardless of the age of their target audience. Some examples would be Fear the Drowning Deep (YA), and my well-beloved Outlander (adult).

So what genre is your novel? My current novel work-in-progress (RotS), is NOT EVEN CLOSE to being a crossover. At least not at the moment. It’s solidly in the adult high fantasy camp. Would younger audiences read it? Mmmm…I don’t think I would recommend it, due to some of the explicit issues the characters deal with. Would other genre-readers like it? Mmmm…again, I don’t think so, as magic and dragons don’t sit too well with hard-core historical or modern fiction readers. Now of course there are people who love both, but in this story…while yes, parts of the fantasy world are inspired by medieval societies and even older mythology, I’ve definitely marched to the beat of my own drum and there isn’t a shred of historical accuracy in it! I purposely chose to write this with THIS particular audience in mind, as it’s my first novel. I feel like trying to appeal to too many people would muddle the story and make my writing struggle.

This topic has actually really got me thinking, and I have a LOT of thoughts about crossover novels that I may share in a later post.

Edit: Please add your link below! I totally forgot to add this in the original posting. Doh!

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Feb 13

Down the TBR Hole #12

Books/Writing 0

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. As of today, I have 611. Which means I’m still hanging on from last week! To be honest though, I’m pretty sure the static number reflects my lack of time in the past week to browse other book blogs and GoodReads. Haha. Anyway! Up this week are numbers 62-66 of my original list.

Title/Author: Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know, by Alexandra Horowitz

Date Added: May 10, 2014

Thoughts: I think I was really missing my dog when I added all these dog books. BUT, I still want to read them! I’m fascinated by the relationship we have the ability to share with dogs, and the intelligence of them.

Judgment: Keep!

 

 

Title/Author: Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan

Date Added: May 10, 2014

Thoughts: Climbing 48 mountains with your little dog in tow? Yes please!

Judgment: Keep!

 

 


Title/Author
: Southbound (The Barefoot Sisters #1), by Lucy and Susan Letcher

Date Added: May 10, 2014

Thoughts: I am fascinated by the Appalachian Trail and I would love to thru-hike it at some point. God knows when, as I don’t see myself ever having a job that would allow 6 months of leave…but you never know.

Judgment: Keep.

 


Title/Author
: Walking Home (The Barefoot Sisters #2)

Date Added: May 10, 2014

Thoughts: Not sure why I added the second one before I read the first one, since I hadn’t and haven’t read anything by them before…

Judgment: Go, at least until I’ve read the first one.

 

 


Title/Author
: The Road to Avalon (The Dark Ages of Britain #1), by Joan Wolf

Date Added: August 12, 2014

Thoughts: While I love Arthurian legend, my interest at the moment lies more in delving into the actual history behind the legends, not so much stories inspired by the legends.

Judgment: Go.

 

Well, 2/5 again this week! But my pile is steadily shrinking each week, which at the rate I add, should mean that in the long run I end up with a smaller number…right? How are you guys doing? Is your TBR about to swallow you?

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Feb 13

Something Else Sunday #24

Books/Writing, Life 2

something else sunday

It’s time for another Something Else Sunday, and well, this last week was just crazy! However, most of my free time was spent on one thing: my awesome, lovely penpal friends. I have had a massive stack of beautiful mail on my desk for months now. Writing about life was just depressing to me, so I…just didn’t. I wrote book reviews, wrote about books, even started writing fiction again. Meanwhile my friends waited and my correspondence suffered. I’m finally feeling a bit back in the groove though, and felt my letter-writing mojo returning last weekend – hence the lack of a Sunday post as I was trying my darndest to get caught up. I still have a ways to go but here are some pics! I may do another post on letter writing and snail mail later…we’ll have to see.

 

This is just part of my reply pile. Yikes!

 


Some of my outgoing from the last week.

Any other letter writers here? Is anyone surprised to find that the “long lost” art of letter writing is still so alive? 😉

Coming Up This Week on the Blog:

Down the TBR Hole #12
A Series of Unfortunate Events #1-4 (MG review)
Writing Up Wednesday #4

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Feb 08

Writing Up Wednesday #3: Which Character is Your Favorite?

Books/Writing 2

writing up wednesday

Welcome to the third week of Writing Up Wednesday! Besides the writing I do for my blog, I’ve also started writing fiction again this year. NaNoWriMo 2016 really kicked me into gear and got me excited about writing again. It’s an excitement that I hope will last, and there’s no better way than to keep motivation up than to share it! I know a lot of my blogger friends also have writing goals outside of their blogs. Week to week I want to discuss various different topics related to writing, and I’ll put a link-up at the bottom of each topic post. This week we have:

Writing Up Wednesday #3: Which Character is Your Favorite?

It’s ok. You can be honest. We all have them. That one character you get excited to write about, your fingers just fly across the keys. Or maybe it’s two characters…together. Or maybe it’s your bad guy. Oooh.

When I first started writing my novel (RotS), my main character was my favorite character. Honestly, truly, deeply. I loved her so much. She was, after all, the inspiration for the entire story! She’s badass. A little shy. But badass. And she has to make IMPORTANT CHOICES.

However. After I plotted out my entire story (see Writing Up Wednesday #2), I realized that no, my dear MC is not, after all, my favorite character. My favorite character is my dragon.

Inspiration pics:

This stunning piece from Sandara from DeviantArt. Photo links to the listing.

Also the lovely (and here slightly goth looking) Amanda Seyfried.

My dragon is broken. Horribly broken. She (yes, my dragon is female) is hideously scarred, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Sometimes the other characters wonder whose side she is really on. She is powerful and dangerous because of her very nature, but also because her pain makes her unwilling to trust anyone. She is a fighter. She never quits. And eventually, she embraces herself – scars, desires, inabilities – everything.

She is neither white nor black, in the moral area of things. She is decidedly, stubbornly gray, and it is partially because of that that she is such a huge part of the story. People want to control her and use her for what she is – and she refuses to let them. She refuses to be used.

Again.

She’s my girl.

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Feb 02

eBook inBox Review

Books/Writing, Reviews 9

ebook inbox review

When I saw an advertisement for this digital book subscription box (curated by the folks at Lit-Cube) when scrolling through one of my social media feeds a few weeks ago, I had to give it a shot! I’m such a sucker for subscription boxes and I hadn’t heard of a digital book version. This is the debut month and I wanted to quickly post about it so that maybe a few other people would have a better idea about the box! So, here’s my eBook inBox review! If you also tried the January box I would love to know what books you received!

First of all, this is a very tailored box, which is awesome! You answer a questionnaire as part of the sign-up process, so hopefully you will only receive books you’re interested in. No fantasy for rom-com readers, etc. The list of categories and how I rated them is below (in case anyone is wondering HOW DID YOU GET THOSE BOOKS MINE ARE SO DIFFERENT?!?). There are 3 settings of interest: high, moderate, and none.

Teen/YA

Contemporary Romance

Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

Historical Romance

Inspirational Romance

Spicy Hot Romance

Chick Lit

Cozy Mystery

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Science Fiction/Fantasy

LGBT

Horror

I really like this part! While it seems like maybe they are trying to do a little TOO much in catering to EVERYONE, since it’s in digital format it might be possible to pull it off.

My January box included…no books I’d ever heard of. I will admit, when I scrolled through at first glance my heart kind of sank. No books I recognized, no authors I recognized…wah-wah.

Daisy Kirkwood and her best friend Kammie have adjusted to life on an alien planet pretty well, all things considered. And thanks to Daisy’s alien pop star boyfriend, Griffin Valentino, she has plenty of sexy new experiences to keep her busy. But it’s not possible to take a massive music nerd away from her home planet and not expect her to pine for a concert or a record store at least in once in a while.

Engaged to an Alien Pop Star (The Alien Pop Star #2), by Kendra L. Saunders. WHAT. Why on earth are you sending me Book #2 in the first month of a book box? I don’t understand. This kind of just makes me rage. Aliens are SO NOT MY THING. No matter how sexy the blurb says they are.

Remy Novem was murdered…

But she didn’t die.

Forced to escape to Somniare, a dream landscape, Remy must somehow survive living nightmares, and endless torment without using her magic. Her only hope for freedom is to hitch a ride with a human back into reality, tricking the poor creature into believing no harm will befall them.

Somniare (Somniare #1), by D.T. Dyllin. Ummm…interesting, if very creepy sounding, premise. This one I might read a few chapters of to see if it’s decent. Still not something I would have picked off the shelf for myself, but I like paranormal now and then if it’s done right.

In a crumbling, futuristic Las Vegas where the wealthy choose the characteristics of their children like ordering off a drive-thru menu, seventeen-year-old Sienna Preston doesn’t fit in. As a normal girl surrounded by genetically modified teenagers, all of her imperfections are on display. But after the death of her father, everything she’s ever known and loved changes in an instant.

Catalyst (The Deception Game #1), by Kristin Smith. Published by “Clean Teen Publishing.” Based on that alone it gets a big fat no. I hate it when people or groups feel the need to state that they are “clean” – um, so, does that make you better? No.

 

Eliana Havelock is a female with no past, whose determination to bring down a Karachi arms dealer catches the attention of the British Secret Intelligence Service. MI-6 is currently fractured due to political upheaval with many of its covert programs dissolved or disbanded. When Eliana presents the opportunity to divert an international arms disaster, the head of MI-6 partners her with one of it’s best and brightest, the enigmatic, Connor Blackwell. But in a world of secrets and hidden agendas, who can Eliana trust? And what, or who, is Eliana really after?

Havelock, by Jane D. Everly. This one sounds like it might actually be a fun read, if a little outside my usual! I’m a little confused by the listings on GoodReads because it looks like it was originally published as a serial and I can’t tell if this is just Part 1 or the entire 3-part book…ack. I think it’s the entire thing but I’m not sure.

Besides these 4 ebooks, there was also a digital art print and a digital coloring page. The coloring page was Jane Austen inspired and very pretty!

Overall Rating:

2.5/5 stars. :-/ Color me very unimpressed. I love the idea but these books just seem…meh. I didn’t like any of the blurbs enough to add them to my TBR list, even though I do plan to read the first couple of chapters of Somniare and Havelock to see if they might be worth a go.

That said, this month’s box was a FREE TRIAL, and I’m wondering if that might have affected the availability or caliber of the books in the box this time. So I’ll be giving it another month. If I’m still blue about it next month I won’t renew. I hope this eBook inBox review was helpful! I’m sure some people would love this set of books, it just wasn’t really for me.

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Feb 01

Writing Up Wednesday #2: Plotter or Pantser?

Books/Writing 6

Welcome to the second week of Writing Up Wednesday! Besides the writing I do for my blog, I’ve also started writing fiction again this year. NaNoWriMo 2016 really kicked me into gear and got me excited about writing again. It’s an excitement that I hope will last, and there’s no better way than to keep motivation up than to share it! I know a lot of my blogger friends also have writing goals outside of their blogs. Week to week I want to discuss various different topics related to writing, and I’ll put a link-up at the bottom of each topic post. This week we have:

Writing Up Wednesday #2: Plotter or Pantser?

If you’re not familiar with the terms, check out this article from the folks at NaNoWriMo. Basically, most authors fall into one of these two categories – do you plot and plan everything out, or do you fly by the seat of your pants? As a note of interest, GoodReads put together this little list of famous authors with notes of which camp they claim. Surprised by any of them?

My experience in NaNo 2016 has taught me one very solid lesson: I am most definitely a plotter. I discovered the 8-Point Story Arc right before NaNo and it really jumpstarted my novel. I’m absolutely in love with it – it enabled me to get my ENTIRE story down quickly. Yes, I say entire, because every major turning point of the story is included in those 8 points. The 8-Point Story Arc comes from Stephen May’s book Write a Novel and Get It Published – which I proceeded to immediately buy and not read. Ahem. I fully intend to, of course, I just haven’t got to it yet!

Besides the 8-Point Story Arc, I read several forum and blog posts about free-plotting – basically an info dump of a plot outline that no one but you will ever see. You can plot each scene, each chapter, whatever works for you. I ended up just plotting each movement, as I think of it. Each thing that needed to happen to advance the story along. So far in my writing, I’ve discovered that each chapter usually contains 5 or 6 of these points. Some people break the chapters up as they go. I didn’t. I just vomited words all over my page and it was AMAZING. I finally had ALL THOSE IDEAS out. Of course they need fleshed out and smoothed and sculpted, but the best part is THEY ARE OUT and I have them all written down so I can go back to them! My entire NaNoWriMo 2016 was spent outlining this way, and the outline alone ended up being just over 11,000 words.

These two outlines have made the actual writing of my novel so much easier. I would never have thought I needed an outline so badly, but for me it just works.

Which one are you? Be sure to leave your link-up below!

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Jan 30

Down the TBR Hole #10

Books/Writing 1

down the tbr hole

Time to wield the axe again – I’m mercilessly culling my TBR list on GoodReads with the amazing Down the TBR Hole meme by Lia at Lost in a Story!

Most of you probably know this feeling. Your Goodreads TBR pile keeps growing and growing and it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You keep adding, but you add more than you actually read. And then when you’re scrolling through your list, you realize that you have no idea what half the books are about and why you added them. Well, that’s going to change!

It works like this:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

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When I started this series of posts, I had 604 books on my TBR list. As of today, I have 615. I was pretty strong this week, I only added one! This week I’m looking at numbers 52-56 of my original list.

Title/Author: Roselynde, by Roberta Gellis

Date Added: April 13, 2014

Thoughts: Where did I even find this book? It sounds like my type but it has very few reviews…

Judgment: Go.

 

 

Title/Author: Winter’s Heat, by Denise Domning

Date Added: April 13, 2014

Thoughts: Again…where did I find this? It sounds mildly interesting but too heavy on the romance for me.

Judgment: Go.

 

Title/Author: A Place Beyond Courage

Date Added: April 14, 2014

Thoughts: I think these last few must have been GoodReads recommendations from where I read a Phillipa Gregory novel. Why did I think this sounded interesting?

Judgment: Go!

 

Title/Author: The White Queen (Tudors #2), by Philippa Gregory

Date Added: April 13, 2014

Thoughts: Despite GoodReads labeling this as #2, it was the first published in Gregory’s Tudor series. I still mean to get to these at some point! Her writing is beautiful, even if I didn’t care for the content of the one book of hers that I read.

Judgment: Keep.

 

 

Title/Author: The Lavender Garden, by Lucinda Riley

Date Added: April 13, 2014

Thoughts: Ehhhh…interest level 2/5 right now.

Judgment: Go.

 

 

Well, that was definitely an improvement! 4/5 this week. I’m totally patting myself on the back right now. 😉 Who else is participating in Down the TBR Hole? Leave me a link to your posts!

 

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