Book Review: Afterland by Lauren Beukes

afterland-by-lauren-beukes

Rating:  ★★★1/2

Afterland is about the Manpocalypse. How could I not pick up a book about the Manpocalypse? (And yes, they really call it that in the book.)  Anyway, we follow a mother, Cole, and her son, Miles, across the country as they attempt to flee back to their homeland.  They are being chased by Cole’s crazy sister Billy, who wants to sell Miles’s boy-specific-body-fluids on the black market, and the goverment, sort of.  I say sort of because the goverment, disappointingly, doesn’t come much in to play in the present timeline.

Now before I start this review, I want to say that I mostly enjoyed this book.  The writing was hard-hitting and edgy.  The characters were flawed and sympathetic.  The story moves along at a good clip most of the time.  However Beukes’s books always seem to leave me unsatisfied. I feel like they are blurbed and advertised in a way that promises something the books never deliver on.

 In this case, it was the world building.  I wanted to know what the world looked like with most of the men gone. I wanted to know what happened to all those male-dominated fields. Did commercial air travel come to a dead halt?  What about construction?  Was there some sort of emergency training program to get women involved in those fields?  What happened to some of the immune men? Am I to believe they are all under government protection? They didn’t go off on their own and start a cult where they were worshipped by women?  Or worse, abducted and held prisoner? I don’t know. I just wanted to see more. I wanted a tour of what the world looked like post-Manpocalypse and we’re given a frustratingly narrow view.

There is a point, about midway, where Cole and Miles encounter a religious cult.  The plot seems to slow quite a bit here and begins a lot of preaching about God and His plans which grew tiresome for me very quickly.

Otherwise I enjoyed this for the most part. I think if you go into it knowing you won’t be getting to see all those things I was hoping for, you could enjoy it.  The writing was the best part for me and in places reminiscent of The Mere Wife, but unfortunately falls just short of the mark of being a great book.

Afterland can be found on GoodReads and Amazon if you’d like to check it out.

Book Review: The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey

The Book of Koli by MR Carey

Rating:  ★★★★★

The Book of Koli is a book I have been very excited for since I first heard about it earlier this year.  I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, given this is my first time reading Carey, but I am thrilled to report he did not disappoint.

The world presented here is one of the more unique worlds I think I’ve encountered. It’s set in a future earth in which trees and plants have become deadly to humans.  On sunny days the trees are active (physically active!), so the village must wait for the rainy, grey days to venture out and do their hunting.  Most of the world’s human population has died out, so people live in villages few and far between.

These villages are run by people with the “magical” ability to wake up tech.  No one knows how the tech chooses who it will work for or why.  These leaders are known as Ramparts.  Koli, our MC, dreams of becoming Koli Rampart, wielding his own tech and joining the ranks of leaders and lawmakers.  The overall result is a strange mix of antiquated societal structure combined with some far future dystopian technology.

The voice of Koli is very strong.  It almost reminded me of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.  The grammar is often incorrect, the sentences run on in stream of consciousness style.  While it might bother some readers, I found it somewhat endearing, and easy to connect with Koli as a character.  I also enjoyed the other characters, Ursala-From-Elsewhere and Monono Aware (A-wa-ray).   Ursala especially, with her intelligence and compassion, but also the prickly and unapproachable exterior.

The plot moves along at a breakneck pace.  I found the book almost impossible to put down and read it in just a couple of days.  That’s the fastest I’ve read a book all year.  The plot twists and turns and propels Koli from one peril to the next.  From about the midway point on- Koli’s situation never feels safe.  He cannot take a break to rest, his future is uncertain, and he is surrounded by danger, either from nearby people, animals, or plants.

I also loved the very natural way in which this story is told.  It feels like you might be sitting down with an old friend to hear where they’ve been and what they’ve been up to the past ten years.  Details are woven in about the past through Monono, explaining pieces of what happened to the world and what it was like before it ended.

I do wish we had been able to learn a little more about the natural environment.  I’m curious about the killer trees and the way some animals have evolved over time.  The plot appears to be leading away from village life to an adventure on the road, so I’m hopeful we’ll see more of this in book two.  (And thank goodness we only have to wait until September for it!).

I highly recommend The Book of Koli.  It is brilliantly written, with fully realized characters and detailed world-building.  It releases on April 14, 2020 and can be found on GoodReads, or preordered on Amazon.  Thank you to Orbit Books, who supplied an electronic review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

Dead Astronauts Borne 2 Jeff VanderMeer

Rating:  ★★

I have a very self deprecating sense of humor.  But trust me when I say: it’s no joke that I am neither intelligent enough or creative enough or abstract-thinking enough to appreciate this book.  I don’t want to trash it completely- because I can appreciate this for the literary experiment that it is.  I just don’t know that it’s a literary experiment that works.

VanderMeer can string words together on a page better than most, but hot damn, this was a total slog for me.  It took me longer than I care to admit, to realize this is a non-linear story, and on top of it’s non-linearness it’s also very repetitive in parts.  We explore many different realities and alternative timelines in separate parts, never coming together to add up to anything.

I think this is supposed to be the story of Charlie X, the rise and fall of the Company introduced in Borne.  But if I’m being honest, I don’t remember Charlie X all that well from Borne, and I didn’t think anything about the Company that was revealed really contributed any additional understanding.  I guess the questions I cared about, like what happened to humanity and what was the purpose of the Company, weren’t explored enough in any detail to make me care.

We also don’t get to spend enough time with any of the many characters to grow to care about them.  Astronaut dies.  Astronaut dies.  Astronaut dies again.  Blue fox sneaks in and says some clever foxy stuff.  I just don’t know what the point was.  Maybe for some there doesn’t need to be a point.  For me- there needs to be a point.

If, like me, you were hoping for more of Borne, if you were hoping for an origin story to the villain (villain being the company or the sorceress), I think this is safe to skip.  If you’re looking for something to bend your brain and make you work for it, by all means, pick this up.  The writing is beautiful.  Unfortunately that’s the only thing to leave an impression on me.

Dead Astronauts releases on December 3, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or Amazon.  Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley who sent me an eARC in exchange for a review.

Book Review: The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

The Menace From Farside by Ian McDonald

Rating:  ★★★

This is probably the most disappointing book in the Luna universe.  I’m not sorry I read it, because I do adore the world McDonald has created on the moon, but if you came here looking for more Cortas and McKenzies, you’re going to be disappointed.

Instead, The Menace from Farside introduces a new familial set up, ring marriages, and we follow the misadventure of a few young adults on a mission to capture a selfie with the first footprint left on the moon by Neil Armstrong, which they mutually agreed would be a perfect wedding gift for the newest couple to enter the ring marriage.

The main character in this story is Cariad Corcoran.  She’s envious of her new sister-by-marriage from Farside, Sidibe, who is tall and beautiful and brave.  While she was described as not immediately loathsome by some of the buddies I read this with, I also did not find her to be a likable character either.  She’s petty and tends to make bad choices.

The entire book is similar to one of the opening scenes in New Moon, the moon run with Lucasinho.  It also vaguely reminded me of scenes in Wolf Moon where Luna and Lucasinho are forced to cross the moon’s surface, without any of the tension that made those scenes so great.  I simply hadn’t been given the time to care about these characters the way I cared about Luna and Lucas.

I will say I loved the writing here.  The Luna books are written with a very distinct style and feel, cutting and cold and beautiful all at once, and that style continues in The Menace from Farside.  There were some passages beautiful enough that made me stop and re-read.

So, although it’s not my favorite entry, it’s decently priced and can be read in the span of a day.  If you decide to skip it, you aren’t missing anything.  The Menace from Farside released on November 12, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or Amazon.

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday: The Last Human by Zack Jordan

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Last HumanThe Last Human by Zack Jordan

Author:  Zack Jordan

Publisher: Del Rey

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: 448 Pages

Release Date: March 24, 2020

Blurb: Sarya is the civilized galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.

Most days, Sarya doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy.

Most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbors. Again.

And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth–that she’ll never know why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist. Or whether she really is–impossibly–the lone survivor of a species destroyed a millennium ago.

That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter and a miles-long kinetic projectile leaves her life and her perspective shattered.

Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship–with the dubious assistance of a rebellious spacesuit, an android death enthusiast on his sixtieth lifetime, and a ball of fluff with an IQ in the thousands–Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth.

What if humanity’s death and her own existence are simply two moves in a demented cosmic game, one played out by vast alien intellects? Stranger still, what if these mad gods are offering Sarya a seat at their table–and a second chance for humanity?

Why I’m Excited For It: Really- just everything about that blurb speaks to me.  The whacky, off-beat and colorful cast, the sense of adventure, and mostly the sense of humor.  (Am I the only one reminded of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy?)  I mean an android death enthusiast?  This has to be a set up for many entertaining death scenes.  (I can laugh at that because he’s an android.. right?)

I also think this is a path not often chosen in Sci-Fi – humans being exterminated – which could lead to some very interesting revelations.

What about you?  Which new releases are you looking forward to?

Book Review: Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

Salvation Day by Kali Wallace

Rating:  ★★★★

Salvation Day starts with a bang, with a small group of outlaws abducting a passenger transport vehicle that is delivering students to their internships on the moon.  Their goal is to use the students as hostages to buy them time to hack their way past the security net of a derelict ship called House of Wisdom, steal the ship, and sail off into the galaxy to find a new home where the Council’s rule does not reach.

The problem?  House of Wisdom is derelict because an unknown virus killed every last crew member 10 years ago.

Our two MCs are Zahra and Jas.  Zahra is a member of the outlaw group.  Jas is one of the hostages, and the only surviving member of the House of Wisdom incident.  I liked the contrast between the two characters and how the author tied them together.  They are on two opposing sides and yet have shared many of the same struggles and pains for many similar reasons.  I won’t spoil Zahra’s back story, but she has ties to House of Wisdom too, and while she is there to help her people, she has personal reasons for being there also.

The setting is very well done.  It reminded me a lot of The Last Astronaut, and the movie Sphere.  It’s not surprising at all, but it’s such an important element to stories like this.  It sets the tone for the whole book.  Imagine dark spaces, dead gardens, freezing cold, low-level red emergency lights.  Wallace doesn’t waste pages and paragraphs writing about it (the book is only about 300 pages long) but gives the reader just enough to take the image and run.

Despite the initial fast pace, I did feel like the pacing continuously winds down as we near the end of the book.  There came a point where I understood almost exactly how the book would end, and some of the tension was lost.  Compounding the problem, what you see is sort of what you get. There were some opportunities to layer in outside threats over the internal threat of the virus, and I never really had the sense of impending doom coming down on the MCs from all sides like I wanted.

That being said, I think Wallace’s characterization was very well done.  These aren’t the sort of characters I’ll look back on with fondness- I don’t feel any personal sort of connection to them.  Regardless of how innocent or guilty they were, I cared about them.  Their arcs were wonderful and each went through sufficient development, changing as the story progressed.  I do think it was the characters more than the action that drove me forward, which isn’t exactly what I’d expect from a sci-fi thriller.

I also sincerely appreciated how in that final chapter, Wallace managed to make the story so very relevant to today’s political climate.  Some of those final paragraphs really got me thinking about how, for all our progress, no matter how much things change, some things really just stay the same.  That level of thoughtfulness wasn’t what I expected in this type of book, and I loved it.

I did have one issue with the ending, and I’m going to choose my words very carefully here so as not to put others off.  It’s not vague and it’s not a non-ending, but I was really annoyed when the author posed a question in the last 20 pages that she then proceeded not to answer.

It wasn’t as if this particular question was overly complex.  It doesn’t seem a large enough question to be setting up a sequel.  I wouldn’t call this ending bad- it just felt lazy.  An epilogue could have fixed it, and in fairness to the book, the copy I read was an ARC (won in a giveaway, thank you Berkley!) so maybe the epilogue was added to the final version.  You know how most fairy tales close with a “And they all lived happily ever after”?  I don’t need all my books to end happily ever after, I just need them to end.  Wallace gave us enough food for thought to keep me thinking about the book after it ended without needing to leave me wondering about post-book events.

Overall, this is a quick little read that I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys the genre.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Series to Finish

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

This week’s topic is a freebie.  I decided to go with series I’ve started and haven’t finished yet.  Usually when I find a series I love I read them all back to back.  For whatever reason- these are series I enjoyed and still want to finish, but stalled on somehow.

Tensorate by J.Y. Yang – I enjoyed The Black Tides of Heaven, but I think the reason I stalled out on this series was that it felt complete as it was.  I also wasn’t thrilled about the character featured in book two.  Regardless, these aren’t a huge time commitment, and I’d still like to finish… Someday.

The Witcher by Andrzej Sapkowski – (Sorry- I can’t figure out how to link to the english version of the series.)  So I will say- that while I haven’t been disappointed with the Witcher (I adore Geralt) it doesn’t quite live up to the masterpiece that is the game, which is why I think I haven’t continued.

The Grail Quest by Bernard Cornwell – I have no good reason for stalling on this series.  I loved Thomas of Hookton and I love how the little easter eggs Cornwell left for it in Agincourt.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown – This is a series I never finished because the stupid bookstore didn’t have a copy on hand of Golden Son and had to order it.  In the meantime I picked up three other books and never got back to it two weeks later when it finally came in.

The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – This series hasn’t been completed yet because I miss Eugenides.  Everything about these stories is pretty simple, and without his POV it’s been difficult to get into the rest of the books.

The Dark Tower by Stephen King – Not even going to lie- The Gunslinger is just not very good.  I’ve been told the series gets better, but it hasn’t helped me get to it any faster.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin – Yeah, yeah.  I’ll get to them someday.  Maybe when they are finished?!

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff – I enjoy these stories because of the format (pictures, texts, wiki files) but that’s the only real appeal for me, which is why I haven’t been in any rush to read the third book.

The Wild Dead

The Bannerless Saga by Carrie Vaughn – Book one, Bannerless, was a rare five star read for me.  I’m not sure why I never continued with The Wild Dead.  I think it’s another case of book one being complete enough to act as a stand alone.

Planetfall by Emma Newman – I know why I haven’t moved forward with these other books yet and it’s because I was less than pleased with the ending of Planetfall.  I didn’t get the sense it was a question to be answered in later books, it felt like a standard issue non-ending.  I’m willing to give book two a try, because people say such good things about these books, but another ending like that and I am done with this series.

State Tectonics by Malka Ann Olders

Centenal Cycle by Malka Ann Older – I love this series and I think they are way underhyped for what you get.  They’re diverse, and feature all kinds of cool tech with some bad-ass women protagonists.  The only reason I never got to State Tectonics was because I read the first two with a group of buddies and we somehow never ended up setting a date for book three.

What about you?  What series have you started and not finished?

 

 

Book Review: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

This is my first experience with Lauren Beukes.  The blurbs on all of her books sound super exciting, but this particular book would not have been my first choice if my library had had some of her other books readily available (Moxyland is the one I really want to read).

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Rating:  ★★★

Blurb (from GoodReads): In Depression-era Chicago, Harper Curtis finds a key to a house that opens on to other times. But it comes at a cost. He has to kill the shining girls: bright young women, burning with potential. Curtis stalks them through their lives across different eras until, in 1989, one of his victims, Kirby Mazrachi, survives and starts hunting him back.

I wanted to read this based on the time period (yes to all things Capone era Chicago) and the idea of Kirby stalking her killer back.  I was hoping for something more like Peppermint:

Jennifer Garner in Peppermint

I wanted a thrilling cat and mouse game.  What I got was:

Ace Ventura Detective Gif

Except Kirby is not really as entertaining as Ace Ventura.  When the blurb says “hunting him back,” what it means is, she ‘digs through cold case police files, interviews victim’s families, and tries to establish a pattern.’  She is not literally hunting him.

The format this book follows reminds me a lot of Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes.  The identity of the killer is known from page one.  The issue is Harper Curtis isn’t really as compelling a villain as Brady Hartsfield.  His chapters weren’t all that exciting.  You already know what his goal is.  He doesn’t do much to surprise you. There’s no mystery to solve.

And without there being a mystery to solve- there’s not much else to sell this story.  The House and the time travel pieces felt gimmicky.  *Possible mild spoiler* The Shining Girls are just normal girls.  They aren’t magic.  They aren’t destined to save the world.  Killing them is not prevent some all important wonderful thing from happening.  Without there being anything significant about them, the House just feels like a gimmick so that Beukes can dazzle us all with the circle she draws in the timeline.

Stephen Colbert Slow Clap Gif

Listen- the timeline thing is nifty.  Really, Beukes did a great job with it.  But when it didn’t serve any greater purpose in the story I was left asking myself what the point of it was.  Nothing about the House is really explained.  There are no rules.  Neither of the two (three?) MCs are particularly compelling.

Almost every other character was far more interesting.  The Shining Girls.  Kirby’s mother Rachel… I sighed with relief every time one of their chapters popped up.  I particularly adored Alice’s story, but they just weren’t enough.

I think I’d have appreciated this more as a science fiction mystery than a science fiction thriller.  I like it when books keep me guessing.  When Kirby starts discovering clues and putting the pieces together, I would have loved to have been kept guessing about these different clues.  How they fit together, what the answer is.  Have the House and the time travel aspect be some crazy weird twist that was revealed closer to the end than in the beginning.

It’s not a bad book by any means.  The writing was great.  And while Harper Curtis is not going to go down as one of my most memorable villains of all time, he’s pretty creepy.  There are a couple chapters that will make you cringe.  Sometimes genre benders work.  They feel fresh and new and exciting.  In this case the book waffled too much.  It wanted to be a thriller, it wanted to be time travel, it wanted to be an amateur detective story with the protagonist solving the clues, and the overall effect fell a little flat for me.

Anyway, I intend to try some of Beukes other work and hope for better results.  I can see that she’s smart, and technically a great writer, I just hope the rest of the blurbs aren’t as misleading as this one was.

The Shining Girls can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

 

Book Review: One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

I did it!  I finally read something else by Mark Lawrence!  Don’t ask why it took so long.  I don’t have a good answer for you.

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

Rating:  ★★★1/2

Blurb (from GoodReads): In January 1986, fifteen-year-old boy-genius Nick Hayes discovers he’s dying. And it isn’t even the strangest thing to happen to him that week.

Nick and his Dungeons & Dragons-playing friends are used to living in their imaginations. But when a new girl, Mia, joins the group and reality becomes weirder than the fantasy world they visit in their weekly games, none of them are prepared for what comes next. A strange—yet curiously familiar—man is following Nick, with abilities that just shouldn’t exist. And this man bears a cryptic message: Mia’s in grave danger, though she doesn’t know it yet. She needs Nick’s help—now.

He finds himself in a race against time to unravel an impossible mystery and save the girl. And all that stands in his way is a probably terminal disease, a knife-wielding maniac and the laws of physics.

Challenge accepted.

I don’t know how I feel about this blurb… I picked this up free as part of Kindle’s First Reads program.  The selling point for me was the author.  For some authors, it just doesn’t matter what they write, you’ll read it anyway.  And despite the lack of Lawrence books in my read pile- I admire him as an author and as a person.  He was one of the first authors I followed on both GoodReads and Twitter.  He’s always helping out other self pub’d authors, and just generally seems like a good guy.

Anyway- onto the book.  I’ll start by saying I have no idea how D&D is played.  I (now) know it involves dice and a game master and the occasional prop, but I had a hard time picturing everything else. Is there a game board?  Who writes the snippets everyone reads?  It was kind of neat but I spent a lot of time going: huh? what? why?  I think D&D fans will get a lot more out of this book than I did.

Onto the science- anytime quantum mechanics/physics/mathematics was brought up, I tuned out.  It’s so far beyond anything I’m able to twist my head around, I couldn’t even begin to fathom it.  Much like the D&D stuff, I think people who have some understanding of it, will get more out of this than I did.

One Word Kill is super dark.  Do not mistake the protagonists being teenagers to mean that this is a YA book.  I think it’s anything but, and a lot of the topics here are things I tend to avoid in my reading when the setting is not historical or fantastical (drugs, terminal illness, gangs).  The antagonist is deranged and any time he came up I found myself cringing/shivering/shuddering.

I adored the characters and their relationships with each other.  They feel like real (smart) every day teens, just trying to get through their day without losing their lunch money or embarrassing themselves.  I think I found Simon the most relatable- he’s introverted, smart and straightforward in his dealings, but there was something to love about the whole gang.  They all had their own struggles, and one refreshing thing was that the parents are all pretty supportive of their kids.

The plot is twisting and turning, amping up the crazy with every chapter.  I’m not going to say much about it- because it’s better experienced first hand.  But I will say I did feel like there were some plot holes here and there.  The book is super quick (200 pages) so it’s possible I needed to be reading more between the lines than I was, but I’m not entirely sure that was the case.  I almost wonder if the book could have used a few more pages to make everything really come together and feel complete.

That being said I was totally shattered by the ending, and it’s always good when a book can make me feel something.  I am curious to see what this is all leading toward, so I will definitely be continuing with the series!

One Word Kill can be found on GoodReads and Amazon.

Weekly Wrap Up: June 2 – 8

I don’t usually do a weekly wrap up post- and don’t really plan to make it a habit, but it was a busy week for me and I had some things I wanted to share!

Blood Eye Raven 1 by Giles Kristian

First, I did my first ever guest post for Andrew at On My Book Shelf and covered the historical fiction Viking novel: Blood Eye (Raven #1) by Giles Kristian.  Unfortunately the book itself was kind of a dud, but I had a lot of fun working with Andrew.  On My Book Shelf covers a wide range of topics from writing prompts to favorite quotes, and books reviews from fantasy and historical fiction to thrillers and manga.  He’s got lots of fun, unique content and a little something for everyone, so stop by and say hello!

Books I DNF’d:

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley: I’m going to qualify this by saying, Queen of Kings is not a bad book.  I’m guessing it’s a solid three star read.  It’s just not what I wanted right now.  I read The Mere Wife a few months ago and haven’t been able to get it out of my head.  I thought the premise (Cleopatra possessed by a god and out for revenge) would provide an excellent opportunity for Headley to give me another ferocious and fully realized female character.  Maybe Cleo becomes that eventually, but I read about 30% of the book, and it was a lot of Cleopatra bemoaning her fate and missing Antony and not taking any real discernible action.  Add to that a whiny Caesar Augustus, and I just wanted to move on.  I will maybe revisit in the future, but for now my curiosity is sated.

Books I Finished:

Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy

One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Reviews to come!

Books Reviewed:

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena: 3 Stars – Not as surprising or shocking as I would hope for in a thriller.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney: 4 Stars – A super fun roller coaster of a ride that I think most readers would enjoy.  A little far fetched in its conclusion, but hey, we’re talking fiction here.  Who cares?

Lists:

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Fantasy Reads

Pride Month: Favorite LGBT+ Couples and Characters in Fiction

Book Hauls:

Barnes & Noble Memorial Day Sale Book Haul

And that’s my week!  I feel pretty accomplished this week.  Hoping next week will be just as great!