Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 12 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 12, the boys are unhappy with Hermione, Harry has his first dementor lessons with Lupin, we find out more about dementors than we ever wanted to, and the Firebolt is back, baby! Let’s go!

Losing the Firebolt has had some implications. The boys are none to happy with Hermione, even though Hermione maintains that she was in the right and just trying to look out for Harry. Oliver Wood is stunned that Harry got such a wonderful broom for Christmas and completely dismayed that McGonagall won’t give it back yet.

Classes are back in session though, and that means the promised anti-dementor classes with Lupin. They can’t practice on a real dementor, obviously, but Lupin is able to find another boggart in the castle that will be a good substitute. The only way to drive one off is a very advanced spell called a Patronus Charm which produces (you guessed it) a Patronus. What is a Patronus, you might ask?

“. . . a kind of anti-dementor – a guardian that acts as a shield between you and the dementor.”

“The Patronus is a kind of positive force, a projection of the very things that the dementor feeds upon – hope, happiness, the desire to survive – but it cannot feel despair, as real humans can, so the dementors can’t hurt it.”

It’s a tough spell that even full grown wizards can’t all do. There is an incantation and a happy memory needed to power the Patronus, but it’s still super hard. But this is Harry Potter! He can do it! No. No, he can’t. The boggart-dementor takes him out. The happy memory Harry chose (flying for the first time) was not enough. Lupin gives Harry some chocolate to feel better. Harry is determined to get this – what if dementors show up at his next Quidditch match!

The second attempt (with the memory of winning the House Cup last year) also doesn’t work, and now, Harry not only hears his mother pleading for his life, he hears his father telling them to run. This is so hard for Harry! He wants to fight off the dementors . . . but he also is hearing his parents’ voices for the first time since he was a baby. We also find out that Lupin knew James Potter and was friends with him at Hogwarts. This makes sense too, as Lupin has shown a bit of extra concern for Harry – he’s looking after his friend’s kid.

Third try. Memory chosen: the day he found out he was leaving the Dursleys. So happy! And it sort of works. The dementor is there, but so is a silvery cloud thing that the dementor can’t get through. It takes everything he has to keep the silvery cloud up, but it’s enough to keep the dementor away and keep him on his feet. Lupin is very happy about the progress and gives Harry even more chocolate. As he’s eating it, something occurs to Harry.

“Professor Lupin?” he said. “If you knew my dad, you must’ve known Sirius Black as well.”

Lupin turned very quickly.

“What gives you that idea?” he said sharply.

“Nothing – I mean, I just knew they were friends at Hogwarts too . . .”

Lupin’s face relaxed.

“Yes, I knew him,” he said shortly. “Or I thought I did.”

Makes sense. If James and Black were friends, and Lupin was also friends with James, then Lupin would have known Black too.¬† Harry still feels conflicted about hearing his parents and knows that he will never be able to produce a proper Patronus if he keeps wanting to hear their voices. This is so sad! Again, how is this kid not suffering from every PTSD symptom known to man!?!? He finally tells himself to get a grip, that listening to their voices won’t bring them back, and if he wants that Quidditch Cup, he needs to work on this. This kid is so strong, I tell you! I would be nothing but a complete and total mess at this point.

Leading up to the next Quidditch match, a few things happen. For one, Hermione is starting to break under the strain of taking every single class Hogwarts has to offer. Ron can’t figure out how she’s getting to all her classes – many of them are at the same time as the classes they share with her, so how is she attending them? Also, Wood decided to go and ask McGonagall if they could get the Firebolt back and was immediately rejected. Harry keeps asking over and over, and still no. Patronus lessons continue, but the Patronus isn’t getting any stronger. Lupin tells Harry not to worry, he’s doing amazing for such a young wizard, and at least with this cloudy Patronus, Harry will be able to land on the ground and not fall to his almost-death like he did before.

Lupin also gives us some more info on dementors, also known as nightmare fuel. When Harry asks what’s under a dementor’s hood (since he’s never actually seen a dementor’s face), Lupin can’t really explain because very few people know and they aren’t able to tell.

“They call it the Dementor’s Kiss,” said Lupin, with a slightly twisted smile. “It’s what dementors do to those they wish to destroy utterly. I suppose there must be some kind of mouth under there, because they clamp their jaws upon the mouth of the victim and – and suck out his soul.”

AAAHHHHHHH!!!! Mind you, this does not kill the person. They are still alive, just an empty shell. This has always made me wonder what they do with these people. Like, if someone here is sentenced to the death penalty, they are killed and their body either cremated or buried, but what do you do with a criminal who has been deemed severe enough that he gets sentenced to the Dementor’s Kiss after the soul has been sucked out? Is there a pen in Azkaban with a bunch of mindless shell people wandering around? Do they get fed? Can they even eat? Can they talk? Can they do anything? Or do they just wither away to nothing? If so, why don’t they just execute them? This is a creepy line of questioning, so let’s just move on.

Oh, and the Ministry has authorized the dementors to give Black the Dementor’s Kiss if they find him. Harry says he deserves it, but Lupin wonders if anyone really deserves such a fate. It’s a good question, much like the death penalty debates we have here. How far is too far when it comes to punishment of crimes?

Harry finally gets some good news – the Firebolt has been cleared! It’s safe! Harry and Ron agree that they should probably patch things up with Hermione, since she was really looking out for Harry’s safety, but that nice moment is destroyed by the revelation that Scabbers is gone, Ron finds blood on his bedsheets, and with it, several ginger cat hairs. It looks like Crookshanks has finally done it.

See you next time for Chapter 13!

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Chapter 11 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 11, Harry suffers through the horrible revelation of last chapter, Ron and Hermione try to find ways to help him, we find out Malfoy’s plan to get revenge for the hippogriff incident, and Harry receives an amazing Christmas gift. Let’s go!

This post has to start off with another incredulous exclamation about how well-adjusted Harry turns out to be. This is some pretty heavy stuff he’s dealing with, for anyone. And he’s only 13 years old! Imagine finding out that the person who was partially responsible for the death of your parents had been their best friend, and your godfather to boot!

Ron and Hermione are both really worried about him, and rightfully so. Harry is pissed right now! They both try to tell him that he can’t take this to heart and run off to do something stupid. Then Harry drops this on them:

“D’you know what I see and hear every time a dementor gets too near me?” Ron and Hermione shook their heads, looking apprehensive. “I can hear my mum screaming and pleading with Voldemort. And if you’d heard your mum screaming like that, just about to be killed, you wouldn’t forget it in a hurry. And if you found out someone who was supposed to be a friend of hers betrayed her and sent Voldemort after her . . .”

See. It’s a wonder that he’s still sane at all. But what can he do? He’s just a kid facing off against not just a full-grown wizard, but a known cold-blooded killer as well (which we know isn’t true, but Harry doesn’t). Harry wants revenge, which is completely understandable, but it’s also impossible at this point. The current rumor is that Black is looking for Harry, and wouldn’t Harry just be playing into Black’s hands if he went searching him out?

They decide to go see Hagrid and get more bad news. The Ministry has been investigating the hippogriff incident from his class and decided that there will be a hearing overseen by the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. Harry, Ron and Hermione promise to help Hagrid with his case as much as they can. Hagrid is terrified to do anything to help Buckbeak escape because he’s afraid to be taken back to Azkaban.

“Never bin anywhere like it. Thought I was goin’ mad. Kep’ goin’ over horrible stuff in me mind . . . the day I got expelled from Hogwarts . . . day me dad died . . . day I had ter let Norbert go . . .”

“Yeh can’ really remember who yeh are after a while. An’ yeh can’ see the point o’ livin’ at all. I used ter hope I’d jus’ die in me sleep . . . When they let me out, it was like bein’ born again, ev’rythin’ came floodin’ back, it was the bes’ feelin’ in the world. Mind, the dementors weren’t keen on lettin’ me go.”

Hagrid is the biggest, strongest character in the books, and this is what Azkaban did to him. And he was only there for a short period of time. The visit to Hagrid’s did help in one way: Harry doesn’t want to obsess over Black when he knows that Hagrid needs their help. They spend hours in the library trying to find information about hippogriffs and any trials there may have been.

Christmas morning dawns with a very unexpected surprise, a good one this time. A large package, no note saying who it’s from, containing: a Firebolt. The amazing new broom that Harry had been drooling over in Diagon Alley. It is perfect in everyway, but who could have possibly sent it? Dumbledore? Lupin? Definitely not the Dursleys.

Hermione comes in and is immediately terrified of the broom. There’s just something odd about the whole situation and she wants to be cautious. Before they can really question her about it, Crookshanks leaps to attack Scabbers again. Scabbers is looking decidedly unwell: skinny with patches of fur falling out. This leads to another fight between Ron and Hermione because of their pets. I can honestly see both points, but I actually, without knowing what I know about the situation, would have sided with Ron on this one. Hermione may love her cat, but her cat is literally trying to kill Ron’s pet. Sure, that’s what cats do, go after rats and rodents and such, but still.

Since there are so few people staying over Christmas at Hogwarts, the feast is held at just one table. Trelawney makes an appearance, worried that now there are thirteen people sitting there, which is very unlucky. She also mentions that Lupin isn’t there, and predicts that he will probably die before the end of the year because he is so ill. As the Gryffindors head back to their Common Room, Hermione hangs back to talk to McGonagall, and in a few minutes, it becomes clear why.

McGonagall comes to the Common Room with Hermione and confiscates the broom, saying that it needs to be checked for jinxes and curses. After she leaves, taking the Firebolt with her, Ron confronts Hermione, asking her why she told McGonagall about it.

“Because I thought – and Professor McGonagall agrees with me – that that broom was probably sent to Harry by Sirius Black!”

I totally get why she does it, but I probably would have been angry too, to have the world’s best Christmas present taken away. But if it’s dangerous? Hmmm.

The plot thickens!

See you next time for Chapter 12!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up – 3/22/19

Weekly Wrap-Up

A bit of a later wrap-up this week, just because my Friday has been CRAZY! My head is spinning a little and I’m still a bit sleepy – although that might have had something to do with being out late last night. One of the local community theaters that I have done shows with in the past is currently doing a production of Mamma Mia. Several friends of mine are in it, so of course, I wanted to go and support them. Plus the show is just pure fun and joy. I don’t usually go out late on a weekday, but all their performances were selling out so fast, it was the only one we could get. So I’m a bit foggy today, oh well. Totally worth it!

In slightly more serious news, my daughter, who I think I’ve mentioned before is having problems at school, has been diagnosed with ADD, inattentive type, in addition to her anxiety disorder and depression. So not only is the anxiety making it hard for her to focus, but the ADD is making it near impossible, which only increases the anxiety and the depression. Fun stuff. She is not a fan of taking any sort of medication, so we are looking into other ways to help.

But enough about serious stuff. This has been a pretty productive week here on the blog! I got my first Nostalgic Reads post up and really enjoyed discussing it in the comments. So many of us grew up with these books! I also got to take part in my very first blog tour! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now, and hopefully, I will get to do another one sometime. Plus, the books I got to review were AWESOME! I have found a new favorite fantasy author!

Reading progress for the week:

  • Blasted through¬†The Shadow Watch¬†and¬†The Rage of Saints¬†by S.A. Klopfenstein. Got both books read in three days. Note to self: when applying for a blog tour, try not to ask for a second book in a series when you haven’t read the first one. Also, don’t sign up for one that has multiple books when you aren’t sure if you can get them done in time. I mean, I did, but it was a challenge.
  • I’ve started slowing down on¬†Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.¬†Only read Chapters 8-10 this week. It’s not because I don’t want to read it – I really do! This week has especially been stressful time-wise, and since I really enjoy doing the Chapter-A-Long posts for them, it takes a little bit extra. I may not be able to finish this one in March for #PotterheadReadAlong19, but I’m still going to try!
  • I started¬†The Wrythe and the Reckoning¬†by Yvonthia Leland for NetGalley. I’ve read Chapters 1 through 2.2. Yes, chapter 2 is split up into 2.1 and 2.2 for some reason. This book is . . . odd. That’s all I’m going to say for now.
  • Made slight progress with¬†Kushiel’s Chosen¬†by Jacqueline Carey. Read Chapters 67-70, which isn’t much, but hey – progress is still progress!
  • Y’all, I didn’t read¬†Empire of Storms¬†by Sarah J. Maas at all this week! I am starting to get fuzzy on some details, so I may need to start that one over after I get through the next couple of NetGalley ARCs.

I’m going to try to get some posts up for Harry Potter over the weekend, but otherwise, I will see everyone back on Monday! Have a great weekend!

nostalgic reads · Uncategorized

Nostalgic Reads: Double Love

Nostalgic Reads

Title: Double Love

Author: Francine Pascal (creator) and Kate Williams

Series: Sweet Valley High #1

Double LoveBlurb: Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They’re both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that’s where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere — nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants — at school, with friends, and especially with boys.

This time, Jessica has set her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team — the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn’t want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets … even if it ends up hurting her sister.

Meet the Wakefield twins, their guys, and the rest of the gang at Sweet Valley High….

Review: Welcome to my first Nostalgic Reads post! I’ll tell you what, revisiting some of this stuff has been trippy! I was such a different person when I read them before!

First, a little history. This series began in 1983 created by Francine Pascal and then written by a team of ghostwriters There are 143 books in the base series, not counting the Super Editions, Super Thrillers and Magna Editions. This series had several spin-offs, including Sweet Valley Twins (which I also read), Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley High: Senior Year, and Sweet Valley University. 

Now, onto this book. This book has at least six plots going on. Each one of these could easily be a book of it’s own. Those plots are:

  1. The main plot, according to the blurb, which is that Elizabeth likes Todd Wilkins, the captain of the basketball team, but Jessica is going after him like crazy, even though Todd seems to like Elizabeth as well.
  2. Both sisters are pledging to join the Pi Beta sorority, although Jessica is the only one who’s really excited about it.
  3. Their father Ned, a lawyer, might be having an affair with another lawyer, Marianne West, from his law firm.
  4. Their brother Steve has a mystery girlfriend who is revealed to come from a family with a bad reputation.
  5. Jessica has an unfortunate “date” with bad boy Rick Andover which leads to a bar fight and a case of mistaken identity.
  6. The school might lose their football field and the two richest families – the Patmans (old money) and the Fowlers (new money) – are fighting over who takes over the land.

My head is already spinning. I don’t think the other books in the series deal with quite so many plot threads. This may have been just a way to introduce a lot of characters quickly, plus give you a good idea of the town and the school, but boy is it a lot!

The twins. What to say about the twins? Typically, girls who read these books were supposed to identify with one or the other, and I think most probably identified with Elizabeth because she was the bookish twin. Also – Jessica Wakefield is a deeply unlikeable person. I don’t remember disliking her that much when I was younger. I probably, like a lot of young girls, wished I could be more confident like she was: co-captain of the cheerleaders, boys who fall at her feet, the one the whole school practically worships.

But oh my goodness, reading her now. She is such a shallow, lying, manipulative, drama queen! She throws tantrums when she doesn’t get her way. She lies CONSTANTLY. Let’s look at plot #5. She goes on this date with Rick, who gets drunk and gropey, and ends up riding home in a police car after the resulting bar fight gets broken up. The policeman recognizes her last name and knows that his niece goes to school with Elizabeth Wakefield. He doesn’t know that they are twins. So when he drops her off with a warning, and says her name as he tells her goodnight, someone overhears it. Suddenly, the whole school is talking about Elizabeth’s wild night out. Jessica NEVER corrects anyone, claiming that she never hears anyone talk about it. Eventually, she attempts to explain it to Todd, but he thinks she’s just trying to excuse Elizabeth’s “bad behavior” and take the blame.

Jessica also tells Elizabeth that Todd tried to assault her too, just to get back at him for liking someone else and not being attentive enough at the school dance they go to together. Seriously.

The thing is, Elizabeth is clearly the “good girl,” but she also comes off as a complete doormat. She forgives Jessica for anything and everything she does, although she does manage to get some revenge by tricking the student body into throwing Jessica into the school pool. Elizabeth is the writer of the “Eyes and Ears” gossip column in the school paper, but the identity of that person is always kept a secret. If they get discovered, they get dunked. Elizabeth tricks people into thinking that Jessica is her and gets Jessica thrown in the pool instead. It seems like a paltry punishment for all that Jessica does throughout this book, but at least it’s something.

Does this book still hold up? Not necessarily, although it is still highly entertaining, if only for the ridiculousness of it all. We’ll see how some of the other ones stack up.

Books I've Read

BLOG TOUR: The Shadow Watch Series by S.A. Klopfenstein

THE SHADOW WATCH SERIES (1)

Welcome to my very first book tour! I’m so excited! Thank you so much to Rockstar Book Tours for letting me help showcase this amazing series!

Book 1Title: THE SHADOW WATCH (The Shadow Watch #1)

Author: S.A. Klopfenstein

Pub. Date: May 15, 2018

Publisher: Guardian Grey Publishing

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 420

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, B&N

Blurb: For centuries, the Oshan Empire has ruled the New World with terror and blood. The Watchers have been eradicated, and their sorcery is but a whispered myth. But the heart of magic beats on, and as it surges back to life, three young people will determine the fate of the world…

Tori Burodai, a strong-willed slave girl. Her magic could ignite a revolution, but only if she resists the ruler who wants to use her powers to restore the empire to its former glory.

Darien Redvar, the idealistic soldier she loves. His rage leads him down a dark path to power that could turn him against the one person he cares for.

Kale Andovier, a lordling rebel with a torturous past. His quest for a weapon of dark sorcery will thrust him into a twisted game of power that could change the world forever.

Will the return of magic transform the New World, or bring it to ruin?

Review: This is my kind of fantasy! From the very first chapter, I knew I was going to love this story and these characters. It reminded me so much of the first classic fantasy authors I read, way back in the day. Far-reaching and epic in scope, this story keeps the adventure coming from beginning to end.

Let’s start with some specifics, beginning with Tori. She’s the unlikely, and sometimes unwilling, hero. Her life is hard, from coming up from a slave to finally coming into her power. I love when characters in fantasy stories have a wonderful sense of realness to them. This author is not afraid to make his characters tragically flawed (which you see especially in Darien and Kale), but that just draws you more into their stories and how they flow together.

I really loved the magic system, with the Watchers and the Morphs. None of it was completely original, but it all flowed so well together. And the villain, Chancellor Cyrus Maro is chilling. A complete sociopath and incredibly power hungry. This story had great pacing overall. It never lulled and always kept me turning the pages to find out what would happen next. I read it in literally a day and a half, and was very glad to get to jump to the next book immediately. Speaking of which . . .

Book 2 (1)Title: THE RAGE OF SAINTS (The Shadow Watch #2)

Author: S.A. Klopfenstein

Pub. Date: March 26, 2019

Publisher: Guardian Grey Publishing

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 507

Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

Blurb: The Shadow Watch has been undone. Their captain lies in the dungeons of the White Citadel, and the Gallows Girl has disappeared. Most of the surviving Watchers have joined the chancellor’s new magical army, the Sky Guard, led by Darien Redvar, but the Gallows Boy is shaken from the return of the monsters of the Old World, and he must soon choose, once and for all, where his loyalties lie.

Tori and Mischa trek to the Great White North with an Alyut shaman, who believes Tori is the one who will bring Restoration to his people. A resistance is growing in the North, but Tori may not be the god the people are looking for, and the price of revolution may cost Tori her heart as well as her life.

Meanwhile, another threat grows in strength. Old World monsters are rising up across the New World, and no one knows how they’ve returned. As nations ready themselves for a magical war, their return threatens to change everything.

New alliances are set in place, new friendships are forged, new loves kindled. But no one is safe, for there can be no war without betrayal.

Review: This book picks up right where book one left off, and thank goodness! I needed to know what was going to happen! I love when second books in a series are just as good, if not better, than the first, and that was the case with this one. I love how the world was expanded even more. We get to see the Great White North, the Southern Isles, and more of Osha. The cultures are all beautiful and rich; it’s wonderful to see how the characters we got to know in the first book navigate these new terrains.

I also loved how this book spent some time with Mischa as a main character, since she was one of my favorites from book #1.

Things with Tori and Darien are also wonderfully complicated. Starting off as friends, becoming enemies, and now . . . who knows? So many questions still to be answered. Is there a third book coming out? I sure hope so!

I’m not going to give specifics, because I don’t want to spoil it, but this story twists and turns and surprised me several times. The entire final act is one big roller coaster ride and you never know who exactly to trust or who is double crossing who. It kept me guessing the entire time, which I love.

Overall, these are two wonderful books to kick off this series. S.A. Klopfenstein is a great new author keeping with the traditions of fantasy, while at the same time adding his own unique spin to the genre. His writing is sharp, expressive, and very exciting. I would highly recommend both of these books for any fantasy fan!

Meet the Author!

stephen-low-qS.A. Klopfenstein grew up on a steady dose of Tolkien and Star Wars. As a child, he wrote his first story about a sleepwalking killer who was executed by lethal injection.

He lives in the American West with his wife and their dog, Iorek Byrnison. He can be found exploring the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, or daring the halls of the middle school where he teaches Language Arts.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Time!

Be sure to enter the giveaway, where one lucky winner will win copies of both THE SHADOW WATCH and THE RAGE OF SAINTS! You can enter through a Rafflecopter giveaway, just click on the link! Available to the U.S. only.

 

Check out the other stops on the tour!

Week One:

3/18/2019-¬†Lone Tree Reviews–¬†Excerpt

3/18/2019-¬†Literary Gold–¬†Spotlight

3/19/2019-¬†Kelly P’s Blog–¬†Excerpt

3/19/2019-¬†TMBA Corbett Tries to Write–¬†Interview

3/20/2019-¬†Life With No Plot–¬†Review

3/20/2019-¬†The Hermit Librarian–¬†Guest Post

3/21/2019-¬†Adventures Thru Wonderland–¬†Review

3/21/2019-¬†Graced with Books–¬†Interview

3/22/2019-¬†Lauren is Reading–¬†Review

3/22/2019-¬†‚ĚßDefining Ways‚Ěß–¬†Guest Post

Week Two:

3/25/2019-¬†Sincerely Karen Jo–¬†Excerpt

3/25/2019-¬†BookHounds YA–¬†Guest Post

3/26/2019-¬†Colorimetry¬†–¬†Guest Post

3/26/2019-¬†Two Chicks on Books–¬†Interview

3/27/2019-¬†Owl Always Be Reading–¬†Excerpt

3/27/2019-¬†Jaime’s World–¬†Excerpt

3/28/2019-¬†D. Books and Reviews–¬†Review

3/28/2019-¬†4covert2overt¬†‚ėľ¬†A Place In The Spotlight¬†‚ėľ–¬†Excerpt

3/29/2019-¬†Abooktropolis–¬†Review

3/29/2019-¬†Lisa Loves Literature–¬†Excerpt

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – 3/20/19

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

I just started¬†The Wrythe and the Reckoning by Yvonthia Leland. This is another NetGalley ARC, so I’m really excited to get started on it. I am making slow progress with¬†Empire of Storms¬†by Sarah J. Maas¬†and¬†Kushiel’s Chosen¬†by Jacqueline Carey because I had to set some stuff aside this week. For a good reason though!

What did you recently finish?

I got approved for my first blog tour, in case you missed my post this morning, which was super exciting!! It also meant that I needed to quickly read through two books¬†The Shadow Watch¬†and¬†The Rage of Saints¬†by S.A. Klopfenstein. They were both so good, y’all! I was so excited to get to review them, which is why I dropped everything to get started.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Other than continuing with the series I’m working on, the next book I will probably be reading is¬†The Raven’s Tale¬†by Cat Winters. This is another ARC, due out April 16th.

That’s what my reading week looks like. What are you up to?