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The House of Special Purpose
The House of Special Purpose | John Boyne
Part love story, part historical epic, part tragedy,The House of Special Purposeilluminates an empire at the end of its reign. Eighty year old Georgy Jachmenev is haunted by his past - a past of death, suffering and scandal that will stay with him until the end of his days. Living in England with his beloved wife Zoya, Georgy prepares to make one final journey back to the Russia he once knew and loved, the Russia that both destroyed and defined him. As Georgy remembers days gone by, we are transported to St. Petersburg in the early 20th century, to the Winter Palace of the Tsar. A time of change, threat and bloody revolution. And as Georgy overturns the most painful stone of all, we uncover the story of the house of special purpose. From the Hardcover edition.
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review
JillR
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Pickpick

I picked this as we‘re watching The Last Czars on Netflix. I was fascinated by the fate of the Romanovs when I was at school but I‘ve lost touch with the details. This historical fiction is told by Georgy, the bodyguard of the young Tsarvich Alexei, with a shifting timeline that enables Georgy to reflect on his past as well as his present, which was beautifully done. Yes, at heart it‘s a slightly soppy love story but I loved every bit of it 👇

JillR Planning to (slowly) read my way through everything John Boyne has written - I‘ve read The Hearts Invisible Furies, A Ladder to the Sky and The Boy on Top of the Mountain - what shall I read next? (edited) 1mo
See All 7 Comments
TrishB Definitely The Absolutist. 1mo
Cathythoughts I loved the Absolutist too 👍🏻♥️ And stacking this one 1mo
JillR Thanks @cathythoughts @Trisha @erzascarletbookgasm will put that one to the top of the list :) 1mo
JillR @birdsong28 I‘ve seen the film and think my husband has the book in his classroom so need to “borrow” it sometime! 1mo
54 likes2 stack adds7 comments
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JulAnna
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Pickpick

So good! Story of Georgy and Zoya from the time of the Romanovs through their long lives. Russia to France to England. Enchanting story, well told! 💕John Boyne‘s storytelling 🤓

The book cover could have been better! 🙄

Samplergal Loved it. Agree with the book cover. 😀 6mo
32 likes4 stack adds1 comment
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Well, that was a lucky surprise for St. Patrick‘s Day. I need to read this for #booked2019 #irishauthor and finally have the spot in my “reading schedule.” Imagine my surprise when I pulled it off my shelf and found this. (I might have let an “f-bomb” fly.) Inscribed by the author—and to someone named Barbara. I am gobsmacked, because this was a book sale find. I‘ll bet I paid $1 for it. ☘️☘️

#signedsunday #gobsmacked #needtobuyalotteryticket

merelybookish Awesome! Perhaps you have the luck of the Irish today! ☘️ 8mo
MallenNC Wow. That's such a fun coincidence. That book was meant for your shelf. 8mo
erzascarletbookgasm How cool! 👏 🍀 8mo
See All 13 Comments
tjwill Awesome! 8mo
Cortg That‘s awesome! 8mo
LoverofLit That's amazing! 😍🍀 8mo
Tamra Serendipity! 8mo
Cinfhen Oh wow!!! That‘s such serendipity ☘️ 8mo
mrp27 Neat! 8mo
Caksf I love it when things like that happen! Serendipity indeed! 8mo
LeahBergen Wow! 👏🏻👏🏻 8mo
TNbookworm That is awesome! 8mo
LibraryCin That is very cool! 8mo
132 likes13 comments
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SheReadsAndWrites
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I love history. I am loving this one...❤️🤓

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Butterfinger

I enjoyed this book and am so thankful for Litsy for putting Boyne on my radar. Each chapter delved more into the characterization and I can't wait till my next book from Boyne.

#PopSugar2019 (14/50) The Loving Spirit - du Maurier's debut. Claude and Camille - novel based on a true story.
#Booked2019 6/24
#AtoZLitsy 12/26 finished Nellie by Cynthia Woolf
@BookishMarginalia

Cinfhen I‘m really looking forward to this book. Thanks for sharing 😻 9mo
26 likes1 comment
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Butterfinger
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@Cinfhen @BarbaraTheBibliophage @4thhouseontheleft

#Booked2019 All winter prompts complete (6/24)
Female Detective - The Hidden Child
Fairy Tale Retelling - The Bear and the Nightingale
Happy Place - The Healing Hills
Podcast - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Irish author - The House of Special Purpose John Boyne
New to me - A Man Called Ove Fredrick Bachman

Cinfhen Woohoo 🎉 🙌🏻 well done 😁 9mo
30 likes1 comment
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SheReadsAndWrites
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I have high hopes for this one...

Clare-Dragonfly It‘s been very popular in my Litsy feed lately! 9mo
SheReadsAndWrites Same here! @Clare-Dragonfly I LOVE stories about the Romanovs too so I am really excited. I'm home sick today (which isn't fun) but means I can read a lot (yay!!) 🤓 9mo
35 likes1 stack add2 comments
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SheReadsAndWrites
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Home sick in bed today. Sabrina is making me smile though, along with a new book to start-yay!! 😪❤️🐶🤓

AmyG Feel better! 9mo
Patchshank ❤️❤️❤️❤️🐶🐶🐶 feel better! 🤒👊 9mo
Chrissyreadit Feel better! 9mo
35 likes4 comments
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Caroline2
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Mehso-so

Meh, this was a bit soapy & predictable for me! I loved the Russian Revolution timeline but the second modern day strand was really depressing. The final ‘revelation‘ about Zoya‘s identity was obvious for page 1 and kinda made my eyes roll! 🙄 like that! #authoramonth #monthofBoyne

Samplergal Loved this one. Predicable yes. Well written. Yes. Sorry you didn‘t enjoy as much as I did. 9mo
Caroline2 @Samplergal yeah I love his writing so I really wanted to like it but maybe I‘ve studied the Russian revolution too much for my history degree so this felt a bit daft! 🤷‍♀️ 9mo
TrishB I enjoyed this one too @Samplergal sometimes I think not knowing the history makes it easier! 9mo
See All 17 Comments
Caroline2 @TrishB Definitely!!! I think you‘ve hit the nail on the head there! I‘m finding it really hard to enjoy historical fiction lately (my fav genre!!) 😔 9mo
TrishB I‘m the same! I get annoyed when I find errors or just don‘t agree with the authors interpretation. My list of authors I like is getting smaller and smaller! (Historical!) (edited) 9mo
Caroline2 @TrishB me too!! I‘ve become one of those awful people that start shouting, “that‘s not historically accurate!!”?! Which is daft as it‘s fiction but the more I try & ignore it the more irritated I get and I just sit there tutting! 😂 9mo
TrishB I think if the facts are out there it‘s perfectly acceptable to yell!! Interpretation is slightly different as that‘s personal opinions about facts. Then I guess you either like it or don‘t. I can‘t read Philippa Gregory as I disagree with most, if not all, of her interpretations! 9mo
Samplergal @Caroline2 oh yes! One must block out the facts and go with blurred lines. It is fiction I‘m okay with fuzzy facts in a fictional book. 9mo
Caroline2 @TrishB that‘s a good distinction to make! I don‘t like Hilary Mantel‘s interpretations either! And I‘m sorry but Anastasia did not survive!!!! 🙄 9mo
TrishB I agree 😁 but I like Mantel 🤷‍♀️ 9mo
kathedron I couldn't agree more about the obviousness. I kept thinking it must be a deliberate misdirection, but no. 😟 9mo
Tamra Shoot, I‘m going to unstack. 9mo
Caroline2 @kathedron I thought it was a massive red herring...but no! 😔 9mo
Caroline2 @Tamra you might like it tho?! 🤷‍♀️ lots of people do! 👍🏻 9mo
Tamra @Caroline2 if it‘s predictable & cheesy, no thanks. This is why I 💜 Litsy. 9mo
Caroline2 @Tamra 😉 9mo
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled Hmmm. I have this in my TBR and love Boyne, so I‘ll still give it a go, but thanks for the heads up! 9mo
95 likes17 comments
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TabbyGibby
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Pickpick

Loved this one. The alternating timeline was an interesting way to experience the life of Georgy. Both timelines came together quite perfectly in the end. The book was fast paced and an easy read (or listen, as I did). 4/5 Stars.

78 likes2 stack adds
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TabbyGibby
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I've managed 4 hours and 36 minutes so far for #24b4Monday by listening to the tagged book while cleaning, organizing, running errands and eating lunch. Currently at the car wash getting the junk off my car before picking up kids at school - then my free reading time will be seriously diminished until they go to bed.

@TheReadingMermaid @Andrew65

TheReadingMermaid Hey that's a really good chunk! You are doing very very well. Keep up the good work honey 👍🏻💕 10mo
Andrew65 That‘s a great start, well done. 👏 10mo
72 likes2 comments
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TabbyGibby
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I am loving this book! I was in a weird place this past week and couldn't quite focus in whenever I picked up a book to read. I don't know if listening instead of reading is making the difference, but I'm out of the funk and totally engrossed in the story.

Also, tbh I'm kinda sad about having to work tomorrow and not staying home to listen more. Too bad I'm a preschool teacher so headphones at work is a big no-no!

56 likes2 stack adds
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Samplergal
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Pickpick

Does John Boyne write anything less than 5⭐️? Loved it, and so well researched and written. Russian history, The Romanovs, and a love story. Another one to stack! #excellent #MonthofBoyne

Tamra Apparently not because I‘m listening to this and the writing is just phenomenal. So is the narration! 10mo
minkyb What amazes me is that I had not read anything until Hearts. My bad! 10mo
Samplergal @Tamra Next on my list of his. 10mo
See All 7 Comments
Samplergal @minkyb I know, right? Amazing writer. 10mo
JamieArc @MinDea This sounds like it was written for you - the Romanovs and Boyne in one book! Have you read this one? 10mo
MinDea @JamieArc it's on my TBR. Hoping to read it for #MonthOfBoyne. Have you started THIF? 10mo
JamieArc @MinDea Not yet. I just finished a book, and then was going to start it, but I am flying out of town for a few days tomorrow so I‘m deciding whether to take it with me (since it‘s kind of a chunkster) or wait until I get home. Either way, I‘ll start it this week! 10mo
135 likes9 stack adds7 comments
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Samplergal
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My library hold came today. Continuing my love affair with John Boyne‘s writing. This is historical fiction about the last Tsar of Russia/Romanovs, and a couple who fled Russia.

Reviewsbylola Oooh, the Romanovs AND Boyne?! Stacking! 10mo
rubyslippersreads @Reviewsbylola That's what has me interested too. 😊 10mo
erinreads Glad so many people seem to be reading this now. I loved this one! 💕 10mo
See All 6 Comments
Amandajoy I think I need to read more Boyne. (edited) 10mo
Amiable Just finished this yesterday--it was excellent! @Amandajoy --yes! Do! 10mo
Samplergal @Amandajoy yes. You probably do. I‘m working my way through his books. This is number four. 10mo
133 likes11 stack adds6 comments
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Amiable
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Pickpick

Wonderfully written historical fiction about a Russian couple and how their lives are entwined with the Russian revolution and the fate of the Romanovs. I was especially intrigued by how Boyne tells the story chronologically--but backwards in time. Since it starts at the end, you'd think you would have it figured out--but you don't. This is the 5th Boyne novel I've read in a few months. I'm starting to think he is incapable of writing a bad book.

Amiable @Crazeedi @erinreads Are you guys reading this one this month, too? 10mo
Cinfhen This one sounds really different than his other novels ~ I‘m intrigued 10mo
See All 12 Comments
Amiable @Cinfhen Boyne plays rather fast and loose with history in this, which made me cringe a bit . But I guess that's where the "fiction" part of "historical fiction" comes in. ? I got swept into the story, though. 10mo
TrishB Loved this one 👍🏻 10mo
Crazeedi @Amiable I read this one! I can take part in conversation about it any time! 10mo
BookishTrish I wanted more historical accuracy from this one. I‘m picky about my Romanovs. 10mo
Amiable @BookishTrish That's why I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads instead of 5. Yes. I agree. (edited) 10mo
erinreads Read this last year and loved it! I‘m currently reading The Absolutist for my Boyne fix. (edited) 10mo
MinDea I have this on my TBE. Was hoping to get to it for #MonthOfBoyne but haven't been reading much. 😫 10mo
Amiable @erinreads Oh, I thought that one was even better! 10mo
JaclynW This is great to know! I love when an author doesn't lose their writing-mojo. 😉😊 10mo
81 likes4 stack adds12 comments
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Amiable
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Found the title! 👍🏼👍🏼

tjwill I love that moment. 10mo
erinreads Ugh, this book was so good. 💕 10mo
68 likes1 stack add2 comments
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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I think I‘ve picked my Winter books for #Booked2019. I think. Until I change them! 🤪

1. Woman detective: The Eyre Affair (from a series for Reading Women)
2. Fairy tale retelling: Hiddensee
3. Reminds me of my happy place: Molokai (Hawaii)
4. Podcast: The Road to Jonestown (religion other then your own for RW)
5. Irish Author/Location: The House of Special Purpose (historical fiction for RW)
6. New to you Author: Circe (myth retelling for RW)

sprainedbrain Way to multitask! 👌🏻 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @sprainedbrain I like to double up between challenges!! 11mo
britt_brooke Ooh, The Road to Jonestown is so good! It was one of my favorites last year. I really enjoyed Circe, too. Great choices! 11mo
See All 22 Comments
BarbaraTheBibliophage @britt_brooke I bought it when you did. It‘s criminal that I haven‘t listened yet!! 11mo
AlaMich You made fabulous choices!! Moloka‘i and Circe are two of my all time favorite books! The Eyre Affair is pretty good, too. 11mo
BennettBookworm Circe was so epic and The Eyre Affair plus ALL of Jasper Fforde is my FAVE!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉 11mo
Cinfhen I‘m impressed with all that #DoubleDip action 🙌🏻💕and you have some amazing titles!!!! Excellent choices😍 11mo
Megabooks Awesome choices! I loved Moloka‘i and Rd to Jonestown. Both are good audiobooks too. 11mo
ReadingRover The Eyre Affair is one of my favs! The whole series is awesome. Circe was great too. I wanted to like Hiddensee but just couldn‘t get into it. The retelling is very loose. For some reason I can‘t get into Maguire‘s stuff. I keep trying but it never works for me. I‘m not sure why. I‘m a retelling addict. 11mo
BarbaraBB Great choices! What is RW? 11mo
Clare-Dragonfly What podcast is Road to Jonestown related to? I love true crime podcasts! @ReadingRover I don‘t really like Maguire‘s books either, despite how much I love fairy tale retellings. 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Clare-Dragonfly It was on show 15 of My Favorite Murder! I‘m going to give the Maguire book a go, but it‘s the one I‘m the least sure I‘ll finish. I‘m not surprised about your feedback at all, based on reviews. 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @BarbaraBB RW is the Reading Women challenge. I was trying to conserve characters! There‘s a link and an image in one of my recent previous posts. 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @ReadingRover I loved Maguire‘s first three Wicked books. Although I remember how hard they were to get into at first. I haven‘t read him since them, but at keep buying them. So ... time to try again. But we‘ll see. 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Megabooks I have Jonestown on audiobook, so yay! I also have the second Moloka‘i book from NetGalley. Should probably read the first before the second! 🤪 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Cinfhen Thanks! I‘m super happy for all the ways to #doubledip this year. I‘m reducing my challenges because it‘s been too much this year. 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @BennettBookworm @AlaMich I‘ve seen so much Litsy love for Moloka‘i, Circe, and our girl Thursday Next. I‘m actually chomping at the bit to start these! 11mo
BarbaraBB @BarbaraTheBibliophage Oh of course. Thank you! 11mo
valeriegeary I need to figure out my list! I might just wing it....? 🤷🙈 11mo
sammisho Is there a #booked19 goodsreads group? Or did I make that up? 11mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @sammisho I need to get it organized!! 🤪 11mo
readinginthedark Great choices! These all sound so good! 10mo
119 likes22 comments
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BookishTrish
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Pickpick

After four months a prolonged kitty nap pushed me to finish this historical-inspired romance. Boyne writes well and tells a compelling tale while playing faster and looser with history than I would‘ve liked.

Reviewsbylola What a cutie. 😍 13mo
97 likes1 comment
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BookishTrish
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My afternoon reading view makes my heart so happy

Eyelit So many levels of adorable! 13mo
Smrloomis So cute! 😄 13mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa OMG! 💙 13mo
Reviewsbylola They look cozy! 13mo
93 likes4 comments
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BookishTrish
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Afternoon plans

Reviewsbylola An afternoon with Boyne is a good afternoon. 👍🏻 13mo
90 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BookishTrish
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I‘m not working until this afternoon and my sister is taking the kids to school on this rainy grey morning #stolenmoments

Verity I love Soulless - the parasol protectorate is one of my favourite series. 1y
Zelma Ooh, Shirley Jackson is perfect for a rainy, gray day! 1y
78 likes2 comments
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BookishTrish
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Pre-bedtime reading view #disdain #catsofLitsy #May

Ms_T 😻 1y
76 likes1 comment
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erinreads
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Pickpick

Well, I loved this one. And it‘s official: John Boyne could write a phone book and I‘d still read the shit out of it. And then cry about it for at least twenty minutes after finishing it. 😭 #reviewofchampions #sorry

Jennick2004 With a review like that, who could resist adding it to their TBR?! 1y
80 likes6 stack adds1 comment
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erinreads
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So while this book isn‘t ENTIRELY about the Romanovs, they are prominent characters that the main character has a lot of interactions with. And now I‘m intrigued and want to explore more about them. Does anyone have any good fiction or nonfiction recommendations about the family?

Chrissyreadit I read a book about them about thirty years ago that I remember began a fascination for me. Their story makes me so sad. I'm pretty sure it was the tagged book. 1y
erinreads @Chrissyreadit Thank you! I will check this one out. 1y
danimgill Helen Rappaport has two great nonfiction books about the family that I read last year! The Romanov Sisters focuses on the lives of the four girls specifically and The Last Days of the Romanovs is an in-depth look at the very end of the family‘s lives. Tagging the second one: 1y
See All 13 Comments
RaimeyGallant Interesting. 1y
Susanita This is a fanciful and sad novel about Rasputin‘s daughter and her relationship with the Romanov family. 1y
Zelma This was a fast-paced and interesting account of the family and the state of the country that led to their downfall. 1y
erinreads @danimgill @BookishTrish @Susanita @zelma Thank you! Adding all of these to my TBR! 😽 1y
LeahBergen I second @Chrissyreadit ‘s recommendation. That was the book that started it all for me, too. 1y
rubyslippersreads Like @LeahBergen and @Chrissyreadit that‘s the book that started my lifelong fascination with the Romanovs. 1y
84 likes1 stack add13 comments
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erinreads
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I like taking creepy pictures of my husband without him knowing. 😂

AshleyHoss820 😂😂😂 1y
LauraJ You‘re so fun 😸 1y
BooksForEmpathy ❤️❤️!! 1y
See All 9 Comments
tammysue 😂💕 1y
2BR02B Cute. 😄 1y
Aims42 Haha, my hubs do that too! My profile pic here is actually one of his sneaky snaps of me 1y
Reviewsbylola ME TOO!!! 🤣🤣🤣 1y
CouronneDhiver Aww 😍 1y
102 likes9 comments
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erinreads
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I never read another Boyne novel after The Heart‘s Invisible Furies, so I‘m going in. This will be a completely different story, but I‘m hoping I love it just as much. 🤞🏻 Sometimes it‘s nice to have books from the library because they make choosing my next book a lot easier when playing the “What in the world do I read next?” game!

rachelm Interested to hear what you think! 1y
BookishTrish I‘m slowly making my way through this one right now 1y
92 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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BookishTrish
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I have finished ALL of my book club reads for May and shall foolishly attempt to cram as many of these books as possible into my busy life before the next batch arrive #seatosea #moosemoose #steepedinstories #screamsbymail #theCanadiantour #RussellBooks

mcctrish I meant to buy The Animators this weekend but I never made it to a book store ☹️ 1y
CouronneDhiver Always ambitious - I like it! 👍🏽 1y
TK421 Conn Iggulden's Emperor series is so good! Enjoy!😊 1y
91 likes3 comments
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BookishTrish
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Book and Baileys on the back deck

Mollyanna Sounds heavenly! 1y
79 likes1 stack add1 comment
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BookishTrish
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Life‘s been too damn busy to read much which makes me feel all pent up in reality. So I‘m up at 5am trying to rectify the situation. Thankfully my husband got up early too to make the coffee #itsthelittlethings

Reviewsbylola I‘m glad you found some time. John Boyne is the best! 1y
61 likes1 stack add1 comment
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eli620
Pickpick

Me gustó muchísimo este libro! De lo mejor que he leído este año. Lo recomiendo!

3 likes1 stack add
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VeganCleopatra
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Day 2 of #febinbooks18 is your new auto-buy authors. I only have one new one of late and that is John Boyne.

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Tove_Reads
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John Boyne is absolutely fantastic!

mjdowens I read this one this summer and I still think of it. Cried like a baby near the end. 2y
Tove_Reads @mjdowens I bet I will cry too 😢 2y
20 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Tove_Reads
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Can't wait to read this one! So far I have not been disappointed by Boyne's writing!

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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Well my manga-crazy granddaughter made out better from library book sale than I did. One for me and ten for her. But John Boyne is a new favorite author of mine, so I'm thrilled. $3.50 for everything. Once again I'm under budget. That's good because tomorrow could prove more costly. It's a book sale at a senior community and they're more expensive but also more recent. #bookhaul #booksale #librarybooksale #manga #happybibliophage

HannaPolkadots I really enjoyed that John Boyne book - hope you will to! 😁 2y
moranadatter $3.50?! 😍 2y
BarbaraBB Have fun tomorrow! 2y
See All 8 Comments
BarbaraTheBibliophage @HannaPolkadots He's new to me but after The Heart's Invisible Furies, he's an autobuy author. 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @moranadatter Yes! Crazy, right? 2y
DivineDiana How was the Senior Community book sale? 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage @DivineDiana It was just as I expected - I found some books and it was pricier than the others. I'll post my haul later today. 😘 2y
DivineDiana Looking forward to seeing what you found! 2y
99 likes2 stack adds8 comments
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msc1977
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Pickpick

Its funny; you know how it's going to end,
You've known before you even open the book to start reading. And yet, you are still an emotional wreck at the end.
I loved this book. John Boyne has never disappointed.
#johnboyne #thehouseofspecialpurpose #russia #romanovs #rasputin #revolution #tsar #love

#bookworm #read #wordsarepowerful #imagine #escape

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msc1977
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I'm half way thru this book, and I'm truly enjoying it.
The way it weaves thru time from WWII, to the time of the Romanov empire and Rasputin, to present. I'm very much loving this book.
#johnboyne #thehouseofspecialpurpose #romanov #rasputin #tsar #russia

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mjdowens
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Pickpick

John Boyne you killed me with this story. It does not take long to start figuring out some things. Then as you read you have this dread pulling at you knowing what the truth really is. I am heartbroken and teary eyed. Such a great tragic love story with a good dose of history. #litsypartyofone

TrishB Loved this 👍 2y
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled I think Im going to have to get my hands on this right away. Ive never read anything by this author and all his books look so good! 2y
mjdowens Just starting his new one today...The Hearts Invisible Furies 2y
rubyslippersreads I need to add this to my TBR list. I'm fascinated by the Romanovs. 2y
42 likes4 stack adds4 comments
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mjdowens
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So glad I was able to discover John Boyne from Litsy! I love anything about the Russian revolution especially the period of the Romanov dynasty. Going to be some late nights ahead🤗

Lwiesman I have been wanting to read about this time period. Definitely stacking this! 2y
BarbaraTheBibliophage I'm loving my current read, also by Boyne. I'll be reading his back list, including this on from you. Amazing talent. 2y
37 likes2 stack adds2 comments
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msc1977
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BooksAndChopsticks I can't wait to start reading him! 2y
msc1977 @KyraCrilly he's a brilliant writer, you'll enjoy him I think. 2y
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