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ralexist

ralexist

Joined May 2016

My TBR pile, like my life, is a work in progress.
blurb
ralexist
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Thank you to @booksellerofyourdiscontent for the wonderful #jolabokaflodswap gift! I'm looking forward to settling in with the book and chocolate later today after some holiday baking. Happy holidays to all! 🎄🎁❄️🎄🎁❄️

monalyisha What an adorable card! 😻 Happy holidays! 1mo
TheDaysGoBy You‘re sweet but I think you got the wrong person. I got a package from you (which I‘ll be opening shortly). The person who sent to you should have put their handle on the box or in the card. If not maybe @MaleficentBookDragon can help out (edited) 1mo
ralexist @TheDaysGoBy - You're right! I confused the names. Thanks for helping me correct my error 🙂. @booksellerofyourdiscontent - My apologies for tagging the wrong name. I've updated things, and thank you for the wonderful gifts! 1mo
See All 9 Comments
TheDaysGoBy @ralexist No problem! I didn‘t want to take credit for someone else‘s wonderful box 🙂 1mo
melissajayne What is the title of the book that you got? I‘m curious 1mo
ralexist @melissajayne - It's Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon. 1mo
booksellerofyourdiscontent I had fun finding your book and chocolate! I hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays! 1mo
booksellerofyourdiscontent @TheDaysGoBy I hope you have a lovely holiday as well!!!! 1mo
34 likes9 comments
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ralexist
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So I'm horrible at not opening the outer packaging for my #jolabokaflodswap gifts but I am good about putting it directly under the tree until the actual day.

Everything made it here in one piece and I'm looking forward to seeing what's inside!

booksellerofyourdiscontent Yay!!! I hope you enjoy! Happy Holidays! 1mo
Nannermack Oh-you waited? I couldn‘t! Such self-control! 1mo
31 likes2 comments
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ralexist
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The #jolabokaflodswap package is on its way! @TheDaysGoBy - You should see it at your front door on Friday (so they tell me).
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Thanks again to @MaleficentBookDragon for organizing this once again. It's a wonderful Icelandic traditional 🎁🎄📚

TheDaysGoBy I‘ll be on the lookout for it. Thank you! 1mo
17 likes1 comment
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ralexist
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Pickpick

Hollowpox is book 3 in the series and our MC, Morrigan Crow, has settled into her life of learning at the Wunderous Society. Her new lessons are helping guide and strengthen her gift each day. And then a disease sweeps through the nation, affecting select individuals causing them to go crazy and then collapse, and it's up to Morrigan to save the day. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a Harry Potter-esque readalike.

24 likes1 stack add
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ralexist
The Brass Queen | Elizabeth Chatsworth
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Pickpick

A Victorian British aristocrat who (while secretly an inventor and military arms dealer) is in desperate need of a husband so as to keep her fortune teams up with a slightly bumbling American cowboy-esque spy to locate 3 missing scientists kidnapped from a ball, & prevent a lethal weapon from falling into the hands of the enemy. This was a good enough read. I think there are stronger examples of the steampunk genre but it was entertaining enough.

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ralexist
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Pickpick

This dual narrative novel bounces between Winceworth, a Victorian lexicographer who feels unappreciated at work & begins to add his own words to a dictionary, & Mallory, modern-day intern, who upon discovering Winceworth's additions, must now verify every word. While this book will delight any lover of the English language, it's more about 2 people in 2 points in time struggling between the perception of themselves and who they actually are.

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Hope for the Best | Jodi Taylor
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Pickpick

This time around, Max finds herself in Tudor times correcting history that's gone awry when Lady Jane Grey, "The Nine Days' Queen", didn't die & through her horrible nature has brought England to the brink of extinction...so there's that to fix. There's the taking of a mob leader to see the Kingdom of Kush & Jebel Barkal after visiting him in a sex club & providing him with dodos, plus another trip back to the Cretaceous. The usual hijinks galore!

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ralexist
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Panpan

Oh Hannah...you deserve so much better. You deserve an author who actually cares that you grow & make good choices, who doesn't leave you stranded in a love triangle for 26 books, for your life to revolve around more than just a recipe. Unfortunately, your author gives you nothing that you deserve. These were once a nice, easy, and enjoyable way to pass the time. Now? With all there is in the world to read, don't waste your time or money on this.

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Pickpick

Benedict's take on Christie's disappearance is not one I've come across before and the end result was something I felt very worthy of Mrs. Christie. Sharp and excellently drawn, the wrong-doers definitely receive their comeuppance in a way that had me smile and think "Serves you right." For any fan of Agatha, or anyone who loves a good mystery, do pick this up!

30 likes1 stack add
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Lore | Alexandra Bracken
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Mehso-so

Every 7 years 9 Greek gods take part in the Agon as punishment for rebelling against their father. Forced to walk the earth as mortals for a time, they are hunted by descendents of their siblings lines. If killed, their powers transfer to the slayer.
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We follow Lore, who trained for the hunt as a child but walked away after her family's murder. Lore is dragged back in when 2 gods seek her help to survive the dawn of the new Agon. Out in January.

AkashaVampie This would be perfect for one of my reading challenges for #TBRCrew for 2021 called #AmongTheGods 13mo
21 likes1 comment
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ralexist
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Pickpick

So I actually began this before the election and was reading it alongside all the other books from last month. It's been an interesting thing to read during that whole time.
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This book gives me a little hope. It runs through a great deal of what has essentially gone wrong with democracy during my lifetime and how we can get the government back to working on behalf of the American public.

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Pickpick

A few days late in posting but I managed to get 10 books read in November. Pretty solidly in the fantasy or historical fiction realm but that's okay; and one nonfiction book done. I passed the 110 books mark for the year too.
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I think my favorites were Black Sun and Dark Archives, both because they were something very different in my reading than the norm. There weren't any duds in the bunch though. One more month to go!

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Pickpick

In 19th century Bombay, Capt. Jim Agnihotri tries to solve the murders of 2 young Parsee women who fell from a University tower. I enjoyed this mystery a lot. I found that while reading it it felt almost episodic as even though solving the girls murders was the primary premise there were several other mini-adventures that took place along the way all which forwarded the story & assisted with the investigation. This book would make a good TV show.

21 likes2 stack adds
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ralexist
A Stroke of Malice | Anna Lee Huber
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Pickpick

A murder-at-the-manor mystery, this adds an extra level of ambiance with it being set in Scotland during the holidays. A body is discovered in the dungeons. After deducing that the man met his end by nefarious means, Kiera and Sebastian are asked by the host family to suss out the killer from amongst the invited guests. Trouble is, everyone has their secrets, and no one wants to share.

19 likes1 stack add
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Kingdom of the Wicked | Kerri Maniscalco
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Pickpick

Emilia is from a long line of Sicilian streghe who hide their powers from the world. One night, her twin sister, Vittoria, goes missing & Emilia stumbles across her body. Devastated, Emilia turns to dark magic to track her sister's killer. Summoning Wrath, one of the 7 Princes of Hell, she binds his will to hers, only the spell doesn't go to plan. Turns out that Emilia's quest for vengeance may tempt her down a darker path than she ever imagined.

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ralexist
Wench | Maxine Kaplan
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Pickpick

I picked this book up based upon the author's description of why she wanted to write it. She talked about how the character of the "Wench" is always there to further another's story - to serve the beer, to provide a quick tumble, to overhear secrets and pass them along, or a variety of other things that helps the MC get what they want. She never gets her own story & so Kaplan decided to give her an adventure of her own. Fun read! (Out in January)

Nute Everybody deserves to have their story told. I think that I might want to hear this one. Thanks for sharing!🙂 14mo
29 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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ralexist
The Sin in the Steel | Ryan Van Loan
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Pickpick

Pirates and dead gods, magic and zombies, adventure and mystery await you in this first book in The Fall of the Gods series. Following the Sherlockian imp Buc and her ex-soldier partner Eld, we watch as they careen from crazy situation to crazy situation. Excellent world building, fun and rollicking adventure, and MCs to love; this was a highly enjoyable and entertaining read and I'm certainly ready for book two when it arrives next summer.

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Pickpick

A short story from the world of Bess Crawford, a series that I've become quite fond of over the past few years. In here we get to learn more about the back story that brought Simon Brandon into her life. This short story was a quick read it was nice to learn more about Simon and it'll be interesting to apply this new background knowledge to future books.

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Black Sun | Rebecca Roanhorse
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Pickpick

Pre-Columbian myth and magic. Old World gods and epic world building. Flawed characters who challenge the status quo. All of this can be found in this wonderful new high fantasy series.
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The setting and mythology are unlike any others that I've come across in the YA arena as many have a Euro-centric feel. Each character is distinct, their actions true, and their motivations real. Everything fits very organically. Add this to your TBR list!

26 likes1 stack add
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ralexist
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Pickpick

Anthropodermic bibliopegy. Certainly not two words that I thought I would ever add to my vocabulary much less understand. But they're two words that will take you down an intriguing and macabre path. Reader this book is not for the faint of heart. It's the study of books bound in human skin. This is as much a study of medical ethics across the years and detective work to pull back the veil of this strange collection, as it is anything else.

25 likes1 stack add
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Pickpick

The Noodle Shop series is one that I've had recommended to me multiple times and so read it I did. Our heroine Lana Lee is self-deprecating and clever, exasperated with family, and a champion for her neighborhood. She's definitely someone I'd like to hang out with again. And fortunately for me, Vivien Chien is highly prolific (2 books a year!) so I've got plenty of material to work with.

27 likes1 stack add
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Pickpick

Sloane & Wrexford return for a 3rd time in this Regency London series to tackle the murder of a friend from Charlotte's past. A past she thought she'd left behind, & only if it's revealed can the murder be solved.
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Once again I'm enjoying the scientific bent of the mysteries. This one centers on the voltaic piles (an early battery) and its dangers. I do so much like learning new things while being entertained. Quite the best of both worlds.

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October, October | Katya Balen
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Eleven down for October. A few nonfiction, a few different times in history, several places of travel both planetary and beyond, and I hit book 100 for the year. Not a bad month all in all.
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I think my fave probably was Space Opera just because it's so different from anything smart I've read recently and I know that White Fragility taught me the most of all the books I've read in a while.

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Jo & Laurie | Margaret Stohl, Melissa de la Cruz
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Pickpick

Many many moons ago, long before the term of "shipping" was applied to characters millions of young girls fell in love with Jo and Laurie from Louisa May Alcott's beloved Little Women. And millions of us were devastated when Jo ended up with Professor Bhaer. As I grew older I begrudgingly began to admit that Bhaer wasn't a bad choice but he just wasn't my choice, just as Laurie wasn't Alcott's. This book is the ending that never was.

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Pickpick

My 100th book for the year! This time the crew of St. Mary's pops back to Tudor England, checks out Alexander the Great at Persepolis, and Max gets herself stranded (through no fault of her own) in medieval England for a year!
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To say things went wonky for the team is an understatement as their attempt to capture the dastardly and wiley Clive Ronan leads to some startling revelations and a betrayal no one saw coming. Another wonderful read!

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Murder at Half Moon Gate | Andrea Penrose
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Pickpick

The Wrexford & Sloane duo continues when a robbery thought to have gone awry turns out to be the murder of an inventor whose ideas would transform the steam-powered mechanized world of Regency London. Lord Wrexford's scientific mind combined with Charlotte Sloane's contacts from the unsavory side of the city help to bring the culprits to light. I was a fan of the premise for this on how 1 idea can be both transformative & dangerous for its owner.

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ralexist
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Mehso-so

Alt-History Women's Suffrage Era + Witchcraft + Mother/Maiden/Crone archetype = this book. I won't say this was easy to get into because I would be lying. I think I had the hardest time in the beginning because I wasn't too enamored with the 3 main sisters. I will say that I enjoyed the world-building. You could tell that the author had done their research and thought to pull in lots of elements from that era. This was just an okay read for me.

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ralexist
Space Opera | Catherynne M. Valente
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Pickpick

Eurovision on an acid trip played out on an intergalactic stage for humanity's future, all written in a fashion wherein the English language has been placed in a blender, sprinkled with fairy dust, & spat out again to form this story. If at the end of reading this you ask yourself, "What the hell was that?", then you would be right on track. If you want to consume something very different from the norm then punch this ticket & enjoy the ride.

Darthdad Just started reading this myself. Couldn‘t stop laughing through the first three chapters. Love the premise 1y
22 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ralexist
Murder on Black Swan Lane | Andrea Penrose
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Pickpick

Yes. I started another cozy mystery series. No, I'm not remotely sorry. I loved that this was very logic based in its approach to solving the crime. Wrexford and Sloane have more of a meeting of the minds than anything else and their partnership is slowly built upon mutual respect and then trust. I'm very glad I decided to pick this up.

17 likes1 stack add
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ralexist
Ghost Seekers | Devon Taylor
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Pickpick

The conclusion of this duology, this picks where book 1 left off with the Harbinger, a ship ferrying the souls of the dead to their next destination, has been sunk and lost. The ship's crew, the Syllektors, are rent asunder with half believing our lost hero Rhett is responsible for the ship going down & the other believing he is the "twice born son" who can find and resurrect the ship. Lots of action both physically and emotionally. Great YA read!

daisyheadmaesie This sounds veerrryyy intriguing... 1y
20 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ralexist
Cleopatra's Shadows | Emily Holleman
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Pickpick

Thanks to this novel I learned more about the lives of Berenice, an elder sister who shares a father but whose mother was cast aside, and Arsinoe, a younger sister who shares Cleopatra's parentage but not her favor. This book bounces back-n-forth between the two sisters' perspectives. Betrayal, seduction, sedition, bloodshed, & tears are all a part of this little slice of history which gives voice to women that time had mostly forgot.

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Pickpick

Growing up in Minnesota, hurricanes weren't really something I needed to worry about. Back there it was tornadoes, blizzards, droughts, flooding, ice storms, and the occasional fire, so this was highly interesting.
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As our climate changes things are only going to shift and so forewarned is forearmed. I learned a few new things and confirmed the old lesson that when it comes to a battle between humankind and Mother Nature, she will always win.

25 likes2 stack adds
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ralexist
Untitled | Unknown
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Such an amazing box to open @bookish_wookish 🎁! I love the variety of books from different eras and places. The hands sanitizer it's an extra bonus. And I'm thrilled at the local food goodies you included. The coffee smells heavenly and I can't wait to use my new mug! Thank you so much for your generosity ♥️📚♥️
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#cozyswap @Avanders @ferskner

bookish_wookish Yay! Im glad you love everything! 🍂🎃 1y
Avanders Oooh Simpson & Vail tea!! ❤️❤️ great package! 😍😍🎃🧡💛❤️👏🏽👏🏽 And I will have to check out 1y
Chrissyreadit 🧡😍🧡 @Avanders I agree that book looks interesting 🍎😍🎃 1y
daisyheadmaesie Wooowww 😍😍 1y
43 likes4 comments
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ralexist
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Pickpick

This was a hard read. It was hard because I never realized my way of thinking needed to be reexamined. It was hard because it left me angry & confused & uncomfortable & ashamed & contrite & hopeful & more knowledgeable than I was before.
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It was a hard read...but I love that. The work necessary to better myself & the world should never be easy or the lessons learned don't last. This'll be read many more times & I'm sure I'll learn more each time.

britt_brooke Excellent, honest review! 1y
squirrelbrain I just read this last week - you echo my thoughts entirely... 1y
violabrain Great book! If you haven‘t read Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad, I highly recommend that as a follow up to this book! The writing prompts she has at the end of each chapter will really get you to reflect on your thoughts and actions and help you see what‘s next for you in doing this work. 1y
38 likes4 comments
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ralexist
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Pickpick

This book was the reason I began this series. A historical cozy mystery set in the Dakota Territory, specifically Medora (ND), is not something you come across often as most tend to be set in bigger cities on the East Coast or in Europe. Historical cozy + Pinkertons + paranormal investigation = this series. This one will be out mid-November so plenty of time to catch up with the first two books if you want to put this one on your docket.

21 likes1 stack add
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September | Rosamunde Pilcher
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A little late but nine down for September and I finished my 90th book for the year. Lots of catching up with various series this past month but some good reading overall. My faves were probably The Archive of the Forgotten and Skyhunter. I felt like I read more than this but that may be because I had five remaining books I was bouncing back-n-forth between at the end of the month that I didn't finish in time for this round up.

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Pickpick

Now a junior Pinkerton agent, Rose is finding her way in this new world. As a gal from Five Points she dislikes cases with the NYC elite but when someone is killing the city's political candidates using supernatural means, one does what one must. She works with Nikola Tesla, Samuel Clemens, & Teddy Roosevelt on this case. Things culminate on the dedication day of Bartholdi's famous copper statue on Bedloe's Island. Another fun entry to the series!

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Pickpick

Considering I already read 123 different series, I didn't really need to start a new one but the third book in this series is set in Medora, ND so begin this series I did. Many historical cozies have a somewhat similar feel to them but this has an interesting twist with a Special Branch of the Pinkertons who focus specifically on the supernatural. Rose is a fresh new heroine & Thomas is surprisingly progressive for the time.

18 likes2 stack adds
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ralexist
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My package arrived for the #cozyswap. October 15th seems very far away! Looking forward to seeing what's inside @bookish_wookish 😊


@ferskner @Avanders @Chrissyreadit

bookish_wookish Yay! 🥳 1y
Avanders 🍁🎃👻🧡🍂 1y
Chrissyreadit 🧡🧡🧡🎉🎉🎉🧡🧡🧡 1y
15 likes3 comments
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ralexist
Well Played | Jen DeLuca
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Pickpick

Well Played continues in the world of the Willow Creek Renaissance Faire. But this time the romance is about Stacey who's realized that maybe it's time to take her life off pause; & maybe one way she can do that is to turn her hot summer fling with Dex into the real thing. This was cute. Not as good as the first, and the reveal is highly predictable but it was fun to revisit Willow Creek. DeLuca also sets readers up for the next book well.

21 likes1 stack add
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ralexist
Catherine House: A Novel | Elisabeth Thomas
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Panpan

I really tried to like this. It's completely in my wheelhouse insofar as I love the whole dark academia aesthetic. Dark and mysterious school, things not quite what they seem...all the hallmarks of something I'd rip through - but I didn't. I didn't really care for the MC. She's not entirely likeable but that's not a deterrent for me. I kept wondering when they were gonna get to the point of the story & when they did, it didn't blow me away.

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Pickpick

A library in Helll - that was the concept that hooked me last year with Hackwith's The Library of the Unwritten. So to say I was eager to return to this world (eager to return to Hell?) is an understatement. A mysterious ink infects Claire & the Arcane Wing & there are disagreements on how to save everyone. Add in the disgraced angel Rami, the book villain Hero, & a whole new section of the library & this series just gets better and better.

17 likes2 stack adds
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ralexist
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Pickpick

Probably the darkest of the series, Max and everyone at St. Mary's take some massive hits in this entry. Heartwrenching and devastating for those of us who've been faithful fans since the beginning. The team does manage to jet about the timeline and take in some impressive moments from the Battle of Hastings to the sack of Constantinople in the 12th. Oh...and did I mention there's a time-travelling teapot? So it's not completely doom and gloom.

DGRachel I almost dropped the series after this one and was so traumatized by some of the events that it took me more than a year after publication to pick up the 9th book. 1y
ralexist @DGRachel - I've heard a lot of similar thoughts to yours. I couldn't believe it either and I don't know that I've even been entirely satisfied with how that got resolved but as a reader I haven't learned how to change a books outcome yet 🙂 (edited) 1y
DGRachel The good news is that I enjoyed the next book a lot more. 🤣🤣 1y
17 likes3 comments
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ralexist
Skyhunter | Marie Lu
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Pickpick

In this we meet Talin, part of the elite Striker corps that helps defend the last free nation, Mara. Now Talin, as a refugee, shouldn't be a Striker but for one little thing...Talin is unable to speak. She's uses sign to converse with the world around her, & it's a skill that is usually reserved for Strikers alone. In this 1st book, she sees her fate tied to a POW who is much more than what he seems. Unraveling his mystery may just save them all.

booksandcats13 That cover is gorgeous! 1y
22 likes1 comment
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ralexist
Battle Ground | Jim Butcher
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Pickpick

In book 17 the soul of Chicago is at stake in an epic battle between good and evil. Butcher, like a verbal cinematographer, weaves our reluctant hero Dresden from fight to fight until his final standoff with a friggin' Titan. In the end there are some massive blows to Dresden's world which may seriously shake up the series. 6 years away was a long time, but the 2 books Butcher gave fans this year totally make up for it.

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ralexist
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Pickpick

It's hard for me to believe that there are already seven books in this series. I keep thinking we're only at three or something. Regardless, the Amory Ames mysteries are a more recent historical mystery fave.
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Mistaken identities, long lost relatives, unearthed family secrets, and a very tangled web of lies are the hallmarks in this book. While not my favorite in the series, it still managed to throw up a red herring or two.

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ralexist
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Pickpick

October Daye has come a long way from when we first met her, a changeling released from a curse that had her trapped as a fish. 14 books later Toby has built herself a life & a family & is set to be married, but in order to do so she has to complete a task which has evaded all of the Fae for millenia. So, you know...nothing much at all. We gain background to some characters & a revelatory ending which could change the entirety of novels' world.

ozma.of.oz Ah! I‘m so excited to get to this! I‘m barely halfway through the series so far and I am loving it! ❤️ 1y
21 likes1 comment
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ralexist
Untitled | Unknown
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A little lower on the numbers this month but I did have a few DNFs this month as well. All good books this time around and a bit more across the board.
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My fave probably had to be Ink & Sigil because it gave new life to a series I thought had ended. I also really liked The Accursed Tower despite it having taken me many months to finish (it was a pick-up-put-down read for me) because it highlighted just how much I have left to learn.

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ralexist
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Pickpick

Set in 1800 Joseon (Korea) this follows 16-year-old Seol, who is indentured to the police to assist in whatever is needed. This is not a setting that is found in historical fiction, much less YA. The story & mystery are twisty-turny and you're never quite sure who's on which side until the very end. I hope that Seol makes a second appearance at some point.

Texreader Excellent review 1y
21 likes1 stack add1 comment
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ralexist
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Pickpick

This isn't a testament to "Christian glory over the infidel" as many modern day media depictions show it. Instead this book covers the greatness & foibles of each side as they battle to the inevitable conclusions. The Crusaders were stimiied by geographic distance & the ever shifting sands of country politics & alliances, & in the medieval ages the Middle East was just more advanced than Europe in medicine, science, and warfare. Lots of good info!

27 likes1 stack add