Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Books Lately

I didn't read much this month (for me), not quite sure why. I spent most of Labor Day weekend reading though, which was pretty fabulous.



The Secret Daughter - Kelly Rimmer - 4 stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Available on Amazon.

I didn't really read the synopsis before I started this book, I knew it was about adoption but I didn't know it was about forced adoption. I also didn't know it was set in Australia, which was a pleasant surprise.  I enjoyed this book. A lot. I can't even imagine going through this. I had no idea this happened. Honestly, it's more like a 3.75 but I'll give it 4. I smiled, I cried. But for such a serious subject matter, everything was resolved very neatly and quickly and of course I love happy endings as much as the next person but I just feel like I wouldn't have minded a longer story if it meant a little more conflict or development. Good book though!

Before We Were Strangers - Renee Carlino - 3 stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Available on Amazon.

I really wanted to love this book and I am super conflicted about it. I think it had the premise of a great story, and overall I enjoyed it. However, certain parts really really really (really) annoyed me and I hate that they annoyed me because everyone else seemed to absolutely adore it, but what can you do. I would still recommend it, which I know makes no sense, but I did enjoy it and I don't think that the things that annoyed me would annoy everyone else, so... you might like it. It's a cute story and I might have cried a bit, so obviously I was invested.
A Window Opens - Elisabeth Egan - 3 Stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Available on Amazon.

I liked some parts but didn't like other parts. It didn't grab me, it was kind of so-so. I feel like it couldn't decide whether to be a funny book or a serious book, and the random funny bits didn't really fit in with the more serious tones and they made me a bit uncomfortable, sort of like when you watch a character do something embarrassing in a movie. Also, the big thing in the book that the author wants you to relate to (and make you reach for some tissues) is not something I will ever relate to, as heartless as that makes me sound it's just not something I can make my heart sad over. This review makes no sense so I shall end it here - I do recommend this.
Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty - 5 Stars

Huzzah, another Australian book! I started this one on a Sunday night at 11pm (great idea! not) and finished it at 2am. It wasn't exactly un-put-down-able, although when I did put it down and try to turn off the light, I picked it straight back up. I just really wanted to know what happened. I think this book has the right mix of chick lit, real life and big issues. I guessed one of the twists pretty early on and I kept saying oh come on! It's totally xyz! and I was right (yay) but I wasn't expecting what came afterwards. I really enjoyed this book, much more than The Husband's Secret. I liked the characters more in this book, I liked the plot more and it was much more interesting. Highly recommend.

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - 4 stars

So. This book.. I had super high expectations, I didn't really know exactly what it was about but I knew that somanypeople loved it so I expected to as well. From a feminist standpoint, I understand why people love this book and of course it would be terrifying if this actually happened and I would 100% be against it. Removing a star doesn't mean I'm not a feminist. However. This book was a bit hard to get into - the way it's written (sup, no quotation marks), the way it jumps around in time, the pace is a bit slow for me, the lack of certain details, the unsatisfying ending.. I wanted more. I still think it was well written and mostly interesting, but I felt like I was waiting for a climax that never showed up. But I still liked it.
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman - 4 Stars

I enjoyed this book. Honestly, it was really quite odd and slightly ridiculous at times. I feel like if I was expecting something different, this book would annoy me and I would hate it. But I expected it to be somewhat similar to The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and it was (or at least, in my opinion). That being said, it was much longer and slower paced. Some parts annoyed me, others gave me all the feels. I loved some of the characters though, one in particular I'd love to read more about and another I might have cried when something happened to them. So yeah. Good book. I still love Stardust the most.

Paulo Coelho - 2 stars

Sometimes, (it seems like) the whole world loves a book, and you don't. There is no real reason except you just don't. Sometimes that's all it is. It doesn't mean you are wrong, or the people who love it are. We all like different things. Thank goodness there are more than enough books to go around.
Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein - 4 stars

Cannot tell you how hard I loved this book, at first anyway. I listened to the first half via audiobook (narrator, huge huge huge thumbs up) but then I ended up switching to paperback for the second half (because it's a different narrator / POV). It fell a little flat for me in the second half, and also broke my heart into a million pieces. But I did love it. I loved so much about it, but it wasn't quite a 5 star because some (teeny tiny) parts were boring. But I loved that it was about friendship. Wanted to share this:

It's like being in love, discovering your best friend.

Now, go hug your best friend. Quick.





Skimmers, I recommend.. well, all of them, really. Some had flaws that I did not like, one I couldn't get into, but overall, they are good picks. My favourites were Big Little Lies and Code Name Verity.

Linking up with Steph and Jana for the show us your books link up.

Life According to Steph


Read anything decent or awful lately?

68 comments:

  1. I loved Big Little Lies, adding Code Name Verity to my list!

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  2. Big Little Lies was definitely good! I'm loving all of her books though! And Code Name Verity has been added to my "to read" list!
    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  3. I totally agree with you that Big Little Lies is way better than The Husband's Secret! I fell in love with it so quickly while THS took a while to build up the storyline. I've heard great things about the The Handmaid's Tale, so I'll have to keep what you said about it jumping around and missing quotation marks when I read it so I don't get too lost!

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  4. I had a hard time with Code Name Verity and didn't finish, but I really want to re-read it. I may have to check out Big Little Lies if it's better than The Husbands Secret because I didn't really like that one.

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  5. I loved Big Little Lies too...such a suspenseful read, but also somewhat lighthearted at times. I had to read the Handmaid's Tale for a course in University and was not a big fan at the time...it was interesting, but it just wasn't for me.

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  6. The Handmaid's Tale was a pretty bizarre read. My rating for it was high, but mostly because it made me think and it was so unique. I was definitely engrossed the first time through but it's not something I'd reread. Somehow the quotation mark thing didn't throw me off. I'm not sure if I even noticed. Ha!

    I need to read more of Neil Gaiman's stuff.

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  7. The Secret Daughter sounds really interesting. And I have to start reading Neil Gaiman...

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  8. i've gotta read big little lies--i keep seeing it everywhere. adding to my crazy-long must read one day list!

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  9. I really liked Big Little Lies too, all of her books are so good! I felt the same way about The Alchemist, I honestly feel like it was too overrated. I was the minority when it came to The Fault In Our Stars, because I really didn't enjoy that book while everyone else was in love with it :/

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  10. Great suggestions as always! I read another book by Liane Moriarty and it was so different to read a book set in Australia. All of the seasons were reversed so it was confusing at first. I also loved all the different words they used. I'll have to check out this one..I started reading it but her writing voice is so different than what I'm used to that I couldn't get into it. After finishing another one of her books I get it more, so I might try again!

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  11. I adore The Handmaid's Tale for social/political reasons. The writing was hard.

    I think I'll try Code Name Verity.

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  12. I still haven't read The Alchemist, I feel like I sometimes avoid popular books for the very reason you didn't like The Alchemist.

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  13. Adding Code Name Verity to the list... I just need to make it my goal to read every Liane Moriarty book there is because I love them all! All of the three I have read.

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  14. Before We Were Strangers and Big Little Lies are on my to read list! It's growing at an alarming rate bc of this linkup. lol

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  15. Sounds like I need to add Big Little Lies to my reading list! I'm also slightly intrigued by Before We Were Strangers just to see what parents are/aren't annoying to people. :) I'm currently reading The Royal We per your suggestion - loving it so far!

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  16. I really liked Elisabeth Egan's book! I was in the mood for something light like that though.

    I'm definitely going to read The Secret Daughter. I have loved Kelly Rimmer's other books.

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  17. I forced myself to read The Alchemist a few years ago. I appreciated the writing, but still could not get into it the way other people did. Big Little Lies is on my list.

    xo, Carly
    P.S. - I changed my blog name to carly blogs!

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  18. Adding The Secret Daughter to my list and already had Code Name Verity :). Totally hear ya on everyone else loving a book but then you didn't. That's been me lately and it's very strange. I juts want to LOVE books so much that it sucks when I don't. I'm sure you know what I mean.

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  19. Glad Big Little Lies is better than the Husband's Secret. I think I'm the ONLY person in blogland who didn't love the book. I'm adding the Secret daughter to my list.

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  20. You already know my love for Before We Were Strangers....so I wont even go there. Just whatever. LOL! I have Big Little Lies on my list and I really need to get around to it. So many books so little time!

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  21. Glad you liked Big Little Lies - I loved it too.... such a fun little mystery

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  22. thank god i'm not the only one who didn't get The Achemist. i read it and couldn't even finish it!

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  23. Code Name Verity has been on my to read list. Yeah, I was one of those people who loved The Alchemist. I tried reading The Graveyard Book but couldn't get into it. I liked Big Little Lies.

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  24. Great reviews! I've added a few of these to my to-read list!
    Kelsey
    www.thepeacockroost.com

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  25. Code Name Verity sounds really interesting going to give it a look.

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  26. I've had A window opens on my reading list for a while - even though you didn't think the review helped I think it did lol! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  27. I think Big Little Lies is my favorite Liane Moriarty book, so I'm glad you liked it! But after that I read the Last Anniversary by her and it was such a let down. I will add your other 4 star book to my list! (Sorry, but you have to give it at least four stars for me to consider it a legit recommendation! LOL)
    Gina || On the Daily Express

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  28. I loved Big Little Lies. All her books are fantastic.

    I'm currently reading Jennifer Weiner's new book Who Do You Love.

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  29. I also hated the alchemist. But The Handmaid'e Tale is one of my favorites! I am not a feminist but any means. I was taught the book in a college English course so I think that helped me dig deeper into it! So much hidden meaning!

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  30. Awesome reviews girl! Big Little Lies looks like my kinda book, and yay for it being Australian!

    Have a fabulous week <3

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  31. Big Little Lies was my favorite of her books so far! I would re-read it in a heartbeat!

    I am putting The Graveyard Book on my list right now! I loved the Ocean at the End of the Lane! Stardust will always be my favorite too though!

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  32. I love The Handmaid's Tale. I've been wanting to read The Graveyard Book, but haven't even heard of the other books on this list (except The Alchemist, though I haven't read it). Thanks for the book suggestions!

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  33. I loved Big Little Lies, too! Although I wish it had only taken me 3 hours to read - I'm the slowest!! Have you read What Alice Forget yet? That was my favorite book of hers!

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  34. YES to Big Little Lies for sure; loved it (and didn't think I would). So bummed to hear about The Alchemist and The Hand Maiden so thank you for info, love!

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  35. I think I need to give Code Name Verity another try. I attempted reading the ebook earlier this year, but the formatting was all over the place, so I gave up. I really enjoyed Big Little Lies and have convinced my book club to read The Husband's Secret for October. I'm very excited to dig into that!

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  36. Big Little Lies was my favorite Moriarty book so far. A little less formulaic than the others.

    Before We Were Strangers is on my TBR but I have no idea when I am going to get around to it.

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  37. Glad you were able to get some reading done this weekend and I'll have to add Big Little Lies to my list! - Svetlana @Life with a Side of Wine

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  38. I read The Handmaid's Tale loooong ago, as a wee lass, and I seriously don't remember anything about it except that I really need to reread it STAT. I love/hate those kind of style things. I'm re-reading Last Exit to Brooklyn right now which is pretty challenging because also barely any punctuation (besides periods) and almost not paragraph formatting. I sometimes write in those kinds of stylistic differences though so I always try to give the writer a BIG benefit of the doubt :)

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  39. I really liked Big Little Lies! I have Before We Were Strangers on my list!

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  40. Oh, I really enjoyed Code Name Verity, too! I agree with you, despite enjoying the book overall, there were some "boring" parts. I remember thinking, "C'mon...bottle the ending..."

    I read, well..listened to YOU a few weeks ago. Santino Fontana's narration.. It was great! He is now one of my two favorite male narrators. Over the weekend, I listened to a new adult book called Lick (it was OK) and this evening I finished Ugly Love. Ugly Love absolutely blew me away!

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  41. I'm adopted so pretty much anything that has to do with it pulls me in. I'm adding The Secret Daughter to my list. Handmaid's Tale and Alchemist have been on my list for eons, more so Handmaid. I feel like I'm not really a reader if I haven't read the Alchemist but it doesn't really sound like my thing. It's short and a classic so that's why I would. It always stinks when you read a book that everyone loves and then you just don't. It kind of makes you stop and be like what am I missing?!

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  42. Adding Code Name Verity to my list!

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  43. I almost bought Before We Were Strangers and now I'm glad I didn't, thank you!! And I loved Big Little Lies too!

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  44. you and Nadine and Kathy making me feel all bad about my lack of reading! I've really wanted to read Big Little Lies (The cover is pretty!), so I guess I need to hop on it!

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  45. So I like Liane Moriarty but all of her books run together for me... I had to go and look and see if I had read Big Little Lies (I have, it was my favorite of hers so far). I liked The Handmaid's Tale when I read it, but I was also getting paid to read it to help the girl I was tutoring write a paper for it, so I bet that helped :) I like your description of Code Name Verity but reading about it on Goodreads makes it sound too complex!

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  46. I want to hug my best friend now...and I can't...sad girl!

    What you say about The Alchemist is SO true. I think it's also like what it says in the AJ Fikry book - it's about finding the right book at the right time. I read The Alchemist when I was doing a whole lotta life-searching, so it worked for me...but it isn't something I'll pick up and read again.

    Big Little Lies is in talks for a movie or mini-series. Aren't you interested in seeing who can actually play an Australian Eastern suburbs type correctly?

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  47. I love your handbag,and your style is so attract with me.

    http://www.hollisteroutletestore.com

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  48. I loved your thoughts on the Alchemist, so true. I have The Husband's Secret to read, but you're the second one to rec Big Little Lies this month so I really want to read one by that author!

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  50. That picture at the top! YES. I want to read all the books, all the time. Stupid work and things getting in the way ;-)

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  51. Can't wait to check these out! I wish I could stay home and read all day! Thanks for the recommendations!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  52. I loved Big Little Lies! I tore through it because I just had to know how it ended!

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  53. I want to read so many of these. I haven't read Handmaid's Tale, and I feel like a big fat failure because she came to my university, where I work, to speak in February. Ugh. Gross. I feel like I missed out, granted I would not have had time to read it or go in February. So there. : / I loved the Alchemist. I can understand though. I feel that way about The Hunger Games. Maybe not quite 2 stars, but a pretty meh 3 stars. I get it. :) I want to read Stardust so much. I love the movie. :) XO -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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  54. I've heard good things about The Handmaid's Tale. I might look into that one.

    Also, unrelated to any of these... I finally read The Heir.

    SPOILER ALERT for anyone else reading this. I am SO glad you forewarned me about that book! The heroine was obnoxious (always a hard read for me if I don't like the main character) and even though you understand why she acts the way she does, you also want to see more growth. At least, I did. And I get that the original three books are similar in some ways to The Bachelor TV show (in that there was one guy, dating several girls, and he picked one at the end). But this book seemed like it took some of its drama directly from the Bachelorette TV show. Maybe that was just me. It just seemed more contrived.

    And then of course the ending... um... THE ENDING. What on Earth?! I take it there will be another book? Right? There has to be? Surely? I loved the first three selection books SO much that it's almost hard to believe it was written by the same author. And I almost want to delete this whole comment just in case the author comes across it somehow someday. Because I don't want to hurt her feelings. She's so talented. And I loved her first three Selection books. I just know she can do better than this!

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    1. So I just re-read the synopsis for The Handmaiden's Tale on Goodreads and realized that I have actually read it. That's why it sounded familiar to me, haha! And I can say that I definitely had a very similar reaction to it that you did. Though obviously it wasn't super memorable, ha!

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  55. I couldn't put Big Little Lies down when I read it, but I'm not fast enough to finish it in just a few hours! I'm glad you loved it!

    As you know, I love The Handmaid's Tale. I know I mentioned this to you before, but I still think Oryx and Crake might be something you'd like a little more. I still haven't read the third and final book in that series, but I liked Oryx and Crake (which is the first book) more than The Year of the Flood. I didn't dislike the second book, I just liked the characters and overall story a little more in Oryx and Crake.

    I'll be adding Code Name Verity to my "To Read" list. I love books that can make me feel deep emotions, and it sounds like this one would definitely fall under that category!

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  56. Tell me more about We Were Strangers, haha, now I'm wondering what annoyed you so much! I don't think I'll ever read it, or anytime soon, so I'm not worried about spoilers and am so curious. I really liked A Window Opens, but know what you mean there were parts that made me chuckle, but at the same time there was such a serious/sad thing going on.

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  57. It's been a while since I read "The Handmaid's Tale" but I remember really liking it.

    I'll definitely have to read "Big Little Lies"

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  58. Wow! You did read a lot. Good to know about Big Little Lies. I didn't love The Husband's Secret so I've been leary about reading her other books.

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  59. Very interesting to hear that you didn't love the Handmaid's Tale - I still have to pick it up!

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  60. So many people read Big Little Lies this month. I feel like I missed the boat! It's definitely on my list now, along with several others you listed. My poor, poor TBR list.
    Also, who doesn't use quotation marks. WTF is that?

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  61. i liked big little lies a LOT more than the husbands secret too!

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  62. Ooh! Loving this post! Definitely going to check many of these books out. I've been finishing off the Sookie Stackhouse series which I have been reading all summer. And a friend just loaned me Judy Blume's newest and I cannot wait to read that.

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  63. You're a reading machine! I just added a few of these to my list, thanks for sharing :)

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  64. I've been slacking on my reading lately. I should really get back into it because I downloaded a bunch that have been sitting in my cloud drive for the past month! Lol.

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  65. I tried reading Neil Gaiman once and I could NOT get through it....I am reading Big Little Lies right now!

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  66. So happy that you loved Big Little Lies! I brought it to work today to read on my lunch (haven't started it yet!). I just finished reading What Alice Forgot and I liked it a lot better than The Husband's Secret. Even though it was quite unrealistic at points... sometimes it's nice to just put yourself in those shoes and read and enjoy. :) I hadn't read one that I couldn't put down in a while so that made me happy. I'm excited to read this one now!

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  67. Ok, I love the way you laid out this post! Can I copy it?! Big Little Lies is still on my to-do list but there are so many others before it. I saw The Alchemist the other day at target and thought about picking it up but didn't. There's not enough time for all the books!

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