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Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

I can't believe that one hundred of you follow me, read my ramblings, comment and justify my incoherency! 

To celebrate, and thank you all, I'm holding a giveaway, open internationally, for any book of your choice (so long as it's offered at The Book Depository), up to $12 USD! I know the struggles of not living in the US/Canada - so international people, come, click, participate! :) You can enter, so long as The Book Depository ships to you! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions: 
You have to be 13 years or over to enter this giveaway. If not, your parent/guardian's permission is required. 
You need to be willing to give out an address for me to mail the book. 
I am not responsible for the condition that the book arrives in, nor if it is lost in the mail. 

Now...for the mushy part. To me, 100 Bloglovin' followers is such an achievement. Eight months ago, when I restarted Corralling Books, I had no idea I'd have such supportive friends and meet so many lovely people. I had no idea that I would discover more fantastic books. My first attempt at book blogging was pretty much a flop - I was just writing reviews, doing Top Ten Tuesdays - not interacting with people at all. 
Flash forward to now. My proudest achievement so far is Conversations, the discussion meme I started recently. It's been awesome seeing everyone respond to the discussion prompts, create their own posts, and just talk in general. I'm also pretty excited about all the buddy reads I've done. Although I still have to finish some (-cringes-), some of the best books I've read have come about from doing buddy reads with others - thank you for broadening my horizons. 

It's been a great journey so far, and I can't wait to meet more of you, to engage with you, and to just flail over ALL THE BOOKS. 

Keep reading and loving books!

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Akarnae by Lynette Noni

Thursday, July 21, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown

General Info:
     Title: Akarnae
     Author: Lynette Noni 
     Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
     Publisher: Pantera Press
     Publishing Date: February 1st, 2015

          - Loveable characters
          - Simple writing style 

    Things that could have been better:
         -  Dimensionality of characters - most were 2D

Rating:  4 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

I’ve heard a bit about Akarnae from around Twitter and other book bloggers, and when Lynette Noni stopped by in my city, I decided to go meet her and see her books for myself! It was a very spur-of-the-moment thing, but I’m glad I did it – Noni was really friendly and outgoing, and she convinced me to buy Akarnae! Not only did she sway me with her claim that it’s like a mixture of Harry Potter, Narnia and X-Men in one, but the book was also $10 Australian dollars. That’s pretty much the cheapest that new books can be in Australia! Delighted, I set off into the world that is (insert the world here), and needless to say, I was quickly immersed in it.

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings's world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her... but he's missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora's boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can't ignore her fear that something unexpected... something sinister... is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex's shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race's survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora? 


The characters were a bit cheesy to me – they could have come out of a middle-grade novel. Regardless, I loved most of the characters, because they were just fun to read about. They had their own personalities – you had Bear, the loveable, mature one and Jordan, Bear’s cheeky counterpart. Alex was a combination of headstrong and fearless – it was enjoyable to read about her.

The one complaint I will have with the characters though, is how utterly two dimensional they were. For example, we knew who the antagonists of the novel were immediately, and they remained our antagonists for the whole story. We had some background to why one of the antagonists was “evil”, but he had no redeeming qualities.


I felt like there wasn’t so much plot, as there was world-building. There’s a mysterious danger throughout Alex’s stay at Akarnae, and at the start it is established that she wants to go back to her home, but then then Alex and the people around her don’t take any active steps towards resolving the issue.
The climax was very interesting to read though – it was action-packed and gripping, and the twist wasn’t one I could see coming!
The world building though…that was marvellous. Akarnae is a mixture of fantasy and sci-fi. Things we would consider as magical are given a scientific explanation – for example, there is a menu that, when you press the name of a dish, that dish pops right out of nowhere, and it’s ready to eat! MY DREAM. I would honestly just order chocolate and other chocolate derivatives all day… -daydreams- Maybe it’s better that I live on this Earth though…I think my body would hate me if I just ate chocolate all day xD

Writing Style

Noni writes very simplistically, which I actually quite liked. Although it reads almost as a middle-grade novel with the simple language, there are some things said and written that clearly makes it a YA novel, such as the little innuendos that Jordan says, and some of the darker themes explored, such as family estrangement. I loved how Noni managed to combine a simple writing style with innuendos, so that it’s suitable for both younger and older audiences. Fluid and easy to comprehend, Akarnae was like a breeze on a summer’s day – well received by me!

Entertainment Value

Akarnae was really entertaining. When I read it, I was in the middle of a reading slump. It didn’t get me out of my reading slump, per se, but it hooked me enough to keep me reading a bit during my reading slump. I wasn’t interested in any other books but this one – and I was sad when it finally finished, because I realised I wouldn’t have anything else to read. I’ll definitely be getting Noni’s second book, Raelia, when I can! 

Final Thoughts

Lynette Noni was right: Akarnae is certainly a book for Harry Potter, Narnia and X-Men fans. As a fan of all three, I was certainly captivated by Akarnae’s beautiful world. It certainly relived the magic of those three fandoms for me! I will definitely be picking up the sequel, Raelia! :) I actually just got it at the library, so YESS :D 

Akarnae definitely spins a couple of tropes around again, but the brilliant execution excuses it! 


Thoughts in a Phrase

Harry Potter, X-Men and Narnia in one! 

Keep reading and loving books!

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Conversations: Reading Book Series - yay or nay?

Friday, July 15, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

First things first: what is the plural of book series? Seriei? Serii? Serieses? Just 'series'? I DON'T KNOW. #bookstruggles

I'm gonna go with 'series' - thank you Twitter people! 

Anyway, the topic for this week is...
Reading book series: yay or nay? 

I read a lot of book series. I've also read a lot of stand-alones. I don't actually have a solid opinion on this, because there are many reasons to read book series, and also many reasons to not read them...let's take a look, shall we? 

YAY! Book Series Are The BEST!

1. You only need to read the first book to orient yourself to the universe - This is particularly true with fantasy/sci-fi book series. One thing I dislike about reading a new book (gasp!) is the amount of time it takes for me to jump into the universe and learn about the characters. With book series, this issue is reduced. I can just read the first book, and then I'm set for the next few books! 
2. You get more of your favourites - I was so happy to read Vampire Academy, and then subsequently find out it was a series...I was elated. It meant more sassy Rose, more of the Moroi/Strigoi universe, and more flails. 
3. Easy birthday/Christmas shopping- I always find it easy to buy books for my friends if I know they like a book series. For example, James, a friend of mine in high school, bought me Fall of Five, in the Lorien Legacies, for my birthday because he knew I loved that series. It's just easy to buy presents, because you can buy the next book in the book series for your friend - that way they are guaranteed to love the present! 
4. Bookstagram goals - With complete book series, you can take photos of them, show it off on bookstagram, and be like a proud mama! Look at how I boasted of my Skulduggery Pleasant collection! 

Nay - I say give me a stand-alone any day!

1. You always forget what happened in the first book - ...this honestly happens to me wayyy too often. I read so many books, sometimes information blurs between them, and I also forget what happened, etc. So sometimes, I find that I have to reread the first book, and endure painful reintroductions, relearning of the world, before I can read the next book.
2. You could be reading another book - so many books, too little time right? Shouldn't we be sharing the love with other books, other characters as well? 
3. Different editions are painful - One of my biggest pet peeves is when books of the same series don't align up perfectly in a bookshelf because they're from different editions. I'll be honest, it's not a hugeee deal-breaker. But sometimes, I'll be staring at my bookshelves, annoyed by how I've got different book editions of books in a series, because I bought them at a different time. The best example is The Infernal Devices. I bought the first two from Book Depository because they had already come out, and they were a small, cute A6-ish size. But then Clockwork Princess came out, and I HAD to have it - but they only had the large A5-ish edition...needless to say, I cringe whenever I see those books on the bookshelf 

After writing this post, I think for me, it's safe to say that I love book series if I can bingeread them. This means I have to like the first book at least! 

For example, I love book series when it comes to ones like Vampire Academy, Anna and the French Kiss, the Shadowhunter universe, etc. because I can binge read them. 
But I don't like A Song of Fire and Ice, because I never got into the first book. Whilst I liked it - I didn't love it, and it's been too long since I last read Game of Thrones for me to go on with A Clash of Kings

What do you guys think? Do you always like/dislike book series? If so, give me reasons to like/dislike book series! Or like me, does it depend on the scenario? If so - what does it depend on? Let me know in the comments below! As always, if you've written a post for Conversations this week...don't be shy, link up here! I want to hear what you think! :) 

Keep reading and loving books!

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When I First Saw You | The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Thursday, July 14, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

When I First Saw You (or WIFSY) is a meme held over by Sophie at Sailing through Books and Izel at A Bookish Flower. The aim of the game is to write up a synopsis for a given cover, and then compare it to the actual cover of a book! Sounds fun right? 

It's honestly been so long since I last did WIFSY! WIFSY is one of my absolute favourite memes to participate in, to be honest - it does require quite a lot of effort, but it's so fulfilling to be a part of, because of the creativity and the active thinking required :) 

The Book For This Week is...

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

My Synopsis

Yeah there were three covers for The Thousandth Floor, as I found out when I tried to find the picture for this post. But hey, three covers meant more stimulus for creativity right?? So I drew upon the title and the pictures for the following synopsis... enjoy! 

One, two, three, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seven hundred, eight hundred, nine hundred... one thousand. 

One thousand floors, 998 families.

Since 1760, Manhattan has coped with the exponential increases in the human population by housing people in sky-high apartments. In 2500, the Manhattan government opens the first thousand-floor apartment - these are the residents' stories. 

In Floor 2 lives Adolf, an old bachelor, bitter from the dissolution of his engagement with the only girl he ever loved. 

In Floor 34 is where the Munst family resides. From the matriarch, Great-Grandma Hope to little Rhianon, the Munst family is a large, happy family to society, but conspiracies between family members threaten to rip the family apart. 

Floor 674 is where Lillian Forbes lives. Or at least, it's where she's supposed to live. In reality, the Chang family reside on this floor, with no one knowing better. Melanie Chang supports her brother and her disabled father with the small income she gets cleaning the tower. Timid, and comfortable with the familiar, Melanie may never reach her full potential. 

Floor 1000? No one lives there. Floor 1000 is where these families come together, interact. Floor 1000 is where we hear the story of just a few of the families. The story of human connections and the inexplicable human ability to form connections and survive, even in the toughest of times. 

Actual Synopsis

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall…. 


DAAAAMN for once, I'm actually kind of on the right track! I had the right setting (somewhere in America woo!). The synopses both share the same format, with a focus on a person/being in each paragraph too! I think my synopsis leans a little more towards adult fiction/literature though, with themes of survival, human connection, etc. whilst the actual synopsis is filled with more action and suspense/thriller, I think. 

Either way, I know that I'd definitely read my book and the actual book - I love both the synopses! Plus, the covers are breathtaking! Some books never get a good cover - but this book? It gets three awesome covers! What a lucky book! -claps- 

What do you guys think? Love my synopsis? Love the actual one? Love the covers? Do you agree with the comparison I've made? Let me know in the comments! 

Keep reading and loving books!

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Potterhead July | Accepting New Canon in the Harry Potter Universe

Sunday, July 10, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

There's a running joke on Tumblr that the Harry Potter fandom is the fandom that lived. Nothing has been able to crush our fandom. Even though Rowling announced that no more books were going to be written, the fandom lived on, with head-cannons, fan-fiction, and fan-art.

But (not-so) recently, Rowling has announced several additions to the Harry Potter universe. Our fandom is truly the one that lived, with more official content being released! 

Is this a cause for celebration? 

I'm not too sure of that myself. 

I'm definitely happy about the upcoming release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, as well as The Cursed Child, but I don't know, there's some part of me that feels betrayed by their release. You see, with their release, I'm afraid. Afraid that some of the head-cannons that I've established will come tumbling down.

During the five years or so that we had absolutely no new Harry Potter content (not even Pottermore!), there's been a huge surge of fanfiction, and fan-art, and different headcannons for me to establish. And ingrained in my head these fan-imagined things are. Let's take a look at a few of my favourite fanfiction pieces for example... 

Orchideous - Hermione x Krum - This is a really sweet fanfic that my friend, Janelle, wrote. It's about how Krum asks Hermione to the Yule Ball. Janelle is a great writer too, and she sticks to the characterisation really well! :) 
I Write Complacent Notes of Correspondence, Not Love Letters - James x Lily - I really liked this one! Felt it showed James x Lily's growing relationship perfectly, in an interesting medium - notes! 
Two Strokes of Midnight - James x Lily - New Year's celebrations? YES PLEASE
A Beautiful World - Luna x Neville - This is a really sweet fanfic! Luna is just so...Luna! 

Commentarius - James x Lily - This is a long fanfic. If memory serves me well... this fanfic is longer than the Queen, J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book. It's complete though, and really great quality! Also, who can resist James x Lily?? 
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality - Alternate Universe - I really liked this one! Kinda made me think of it being a cross between Bones and Harry Potter! 

Some of these pieces have contributed to my head-cannon of what life at Hogwarts was like, who these characters were, etc. And the addition to the Harry Potter universe, via mediums such as the internet (Pottermore), the theatre (The Cursed Child) or just the plain old movies (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them) has dissolved some of these headcannons for me. 

It brings up the question - when does authorial intent override the reader's experience/perspective? When can I disregard canon, and think about the Harry Potter world as I see it? 

The best example of this would be the announcement of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger, and Rowling's subsequent endorsement of a 'black Hermione'.
Seeing this tweet, my headcannons came crashing down. Hermione, not white? That was difficult for me to get my head around. All my life, I had thought of Hermione as white. Why? Let's see why below: 
  1. I never pictured a black Hermione, because it didn't seem to fit her character. In Harry Potter, it was established that Hermione is very vocal about social issues, such as mistreatment of the house elves - going so far as to create S.P.E.W. Given the time period, if Hermione was black, I personally would have expected for a very outspoken Hermione, who talked about racial issues. 
  2. In the Hermione Granger page in Pottermore, the diagrams of her are all white. Pottermore is supposed to be the official site - but if it's the official site, and J.K. Rowling is also an official source, why do the two conflict? Pottermore has white Hermione, but Rowling loves black Hermione.
  4. Furthermore, Rowling is using an argument from ignorance in the above twitter post. The argument from ignorance is a logical fallacy that asserts that a proposition is true because there has never been any evidence to the contrary. By saying that "white skin was never specified", and following that with her love for "black Hermione", Rowling is appealing to ignorance by suggesting that black Hermione is canon.
Don't get me wrong, I reckon Noma Dumezweni is probably an awesome actress (I wouldn't know for sure - I don't live in an area that will show The Cursed Child any time soon) - but I just always pictured Hermione as white. My only problem is that Rowling, with one tweet, has forced me to confront one of the most central assumptions that I have had about the Potter universe. So...should I change my entire perspective, my headcannon of Hermione's race just because Rowling endorses Hermione as black? 

For me, after a while thinking about it, I remembered something I once watched - a CrashCourse video that John Green once made. In this video, he says "Dear Authorial don't matter!" Along this, he stated that "The book does not exist for the author, the book exists for the benefits of others!", and as one of the many others, I choose to interpret Rowling's Harry Potter universe as one without her tweets, and her recent additions. 

I'll probably watch Fantastic Beasts, and maybe read The Cursed Child, plus go on Pottermore once in a blue moon. But I'm not going to accept every piece of information as canon - I'll selectively pick and choose. Because to me, I think the Harry Potter universe was always a utopia for me. It was my getaway as a child, I used to love imagining myself in there, and all the awesome amazing things that were in that universe. And I don't really want to change any aspect of that. 

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading this really long post guys! This was a really hard post for me to publish (some of this post is from previous drafts which I haven't dared to post before), and I would really appreciate no hate, and only thoughtful, well-reasoned opinions and comments. Do you have any fanfiction recommendations to keep my headcannons firmly established? Or what do you guys think about the additions to the Harry Potter universe? 

Keep reading and loving books!

A Perfect Book | Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Wednesday, July 06, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown

General Info:
     Title: Lady Midnight
     Author: Cassandra Clare
     Genre: YA, Fantasy, HEART BREAKER. 
     Publisher: Simon & Schuster
     Publishing Date: March 8th, 2016

          - AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I can't single anything out

    Things that could have been better:
         - Pfft. ME suggesting improvement to Queen Cassandra Clare's writing? You must be joking. THAT'S BLASPHEMY! :P 

Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

I don't know if you've saw me on Twitter in March-ish - but all I could do was talk about Lady Midnight (and Conversations...but that's for another conversation... AHAHA SEE WHAT I DID THERE?? I'm funny.). So clearly, I was looking forward to reading this book. And boy, was I in for a great ride. 

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare. 


The characters. What can I say about them? They were all perfect AS USUAL. I found myself getting closer to each character, because they were so very real. I thought that I'd never remember all the Blackthorn children because there are just SO MANY. But they all grew on me, and eventually I just knew all of them, what they were like.  I especially loved how Clare had a huge range of characters. The diversity in this book was so beautiful to see - there were Spanish characters, characters with mental illness..and they weren't just thrown in there for the same of it either. Clare used the diversity in all these characters to also contribute to the plot, which I thought was simply marvelous. 


The plot was gooooood. Like all other Cassandra Clare novels, we definitely had the main plot going and, as always, there was a HUGE plot twist. It was awesome to me, just because the person we find out is the villain is so redeemable. This person has good intentions for doing their evil things gs and argh it was just so good to read. Plus, the discovery of the villain was held off for some time - and you could try to guess who the villain was, which made the reading experience all the more enjoyable for me (i did eventually guess who it was...but it was a short-lived victory - the villain was revealed in the next two-three pages). 

Then we had the tiny side stories going on, with Kieran, Mark, Iarlath and the Wild Hunt, along with the mystery that is Diego. The side stories always intricately wound in with the overall large plot, and it was just so cool to see how everything tied in together. 

Finally, let's have a look at Lady Midnight as a part of the whole Shadowhunter universe. I've always praised Clare's books for having some element of the other books within them - such as the presence of Church in every series. Lady Midnight continues in the tradition of embedding some part of previous series'/foreshadowing for future series' (hopefully??), and it really excited me to see characters we were familiar with from previous series' - it honestly made the whole experience just a bit richer for me. 

((^^ that was just three paragraphs-ish of ramblings about plot. I think it's safe to say that I think that Clare is also queen of plot)) 

Writing Style

Cassandra Clare honestly has a way with words. When I was in highschool, my English teacher once told me that poetry was a bunch of words, put together in the most perfect way possible (something along those lines - I tended not to listen in English classes). Cassandra Clare is like a poet to me - she strings words together in the most perfect way possible, making sure that each sentence has some impact. 
There were some outstanding quotes, which were all really thought provoking to me :) 
“These pictures are my heart. And if my heart was a canvas, every square inch of it would be painted over with you.” 

“We are more than single actions we undertake, whether they be good or evil.” 

“No one is ever the villain of their own story.” 

Final Thoughts

Lady Midnight is a thrill of a book to go through. Jam-packed with action, mystery and emotion - it hits all the bases. If you're in for a diverse read, Lady Midnight also delivers, with its stunning cast of diverse characters, that are truly diverse - no tokenism here at all! I just loved reading Lady Midnight, and even if you're new to the Shadowhunter world, Lady Midnight is the perfect start for you. I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK, SO GO AND BUY IT OKAY?? 


Thoughts in a Phrase

Cassandra Clare at her best :) 

Keep reading and loving books!

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Conversations - My books, my rules

Friday, July 01, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

Hey everyone! This week's Conversations topic is...
What are do’s and don’ts for someone who wants to borrow your books?

Books are my life. I love them to bits. I am honestly so obsessive with who gets to read my books. Only people who take really good care of them, will get to read my books. Below is the interview process that people generally go through, before I even consider letting them borrow my book!

Do you solemnly swear to...
1. Make sure that the spine doesn't crease
2. Never dog-ear the book
3. Never draw/highlight in said book
4. Return said book within a month
5. Never spill food on said book
6. Let me know what you think about the book
7. Love said book as if it were your baby/car/something that you treasure as much as your own life

If you can answer yes to all of the above....yes, you may borrow (insert book's title) for the maximum period of a month. And if you take good enough care of that book....I'll consider letting you on my list of people who can borrow books from me.

Are you as fussy about book borrowing as me? Or are you a lot more chill? Let me know in the comments below! And of course, link up if you've got a post about this! :)

Keep reading and loving books!

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