Life Update: Mini-Hiatus

So, in all honesty I’m not too big on sharing my *feelings* about things. I deal in facts and logic first, emotions second and that’s how I maintain my sanity. The facts are, my father-in-law is in end-stage liver failure and my husband is undergoing surgery to remove about half of his to save his dads life. My husband and I have been together since high-school, and got married just about two years ago (12.30.16). Right after our honeymoon my father-in-law was hospitalized multiple times with various complications all surrounding his liver. When we found out he would need a liver transplant we both immediately offered ours up, but I’m the wrong blood-type, and Colin was a perfect match.

Colin is also in the heat of his PhD, it’s been grueling work for him and I’ve honestly never been so disenchanted with the education system as I have watching him deal with all the garbage and bureaucracy that’s gone into this dream. We spent two days at the University Transplant Center in San Antonio, Texas last November having him undergo a ridiculous number of tests to ensure he’s healthy as a horse, and a good match to donate his liver. When we received the go ahead, to be honest, I felt relief along with a deep gnawing anxiety. I wanted to be the one doing this, I didn’t want to be the one in the waiting room.

I’ve mentioned the surgery multiple times here and everyone’s well wishes and thoughts mean more to me than I can tell you. I thought I’d have time to get in some reviews and posts but the surgery is a week from today. I didn’t think it would affect me quite this much, if we’re being honest. So I wanted to update everyone on what is going on and that I’ll be taking a two week (ish) hiatus from posting and reviewing. I have a whole mess of books lined up to read during our stay in the hospital and my hopes are that we’re back home by Christmas Eve but that remains to be seen. I hope you’ll all stick with me here and forgive me for not being able to post too much in the upcoming weeks. I’ll try to at least pop in the comments next week to let everyone know that everything went well – because I know that everything will go smoothly and we’ll be on the other side of this soon.

I’m wishing everyone the happiest of holidays and looking forward to reading everyone else’s posts and reviews while I try to maintain some semblance of sanity. Tell the people you love that you love them every day, life is really hard sometimes – the ones we love and the ones who love us are what make it worthwhile.

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All the hearts for eyes, forever.
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Sneak Peak Sunday: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!

Happy Sunday readers! I hope everyone has had the most relaxing and fabulous weekend! I, myself have had a wonderful weekend cooking, reading and relaxing in the beautiful 75 degree weather that has been blessing Dallas today and yesterday.

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Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool.

With my husbands surgery barely a week away my anxiety has been ratcheting up as you can imagine. Well, to curb that I’ve done what any bibliophile would do and I’ve overloaded myself with so many great books to read. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know from my story that I’ve done nothing but lounge about, cook and read while Colin does some woodworkin’.

So that brings me to today! I wanted to participate on Sneak Peak Sunday, a meme created by the Traveling Sisters to highlight books you’ve recently started and your initial thoughts right out of the gate! While this one isn’t a Traveling group read, and most of the books I’ve lined up to end the year are reads I’ve been eyeing for a long while that I think will help me keep my mind off my ever growing anxiety. So today I’m bringing you the book I’ve just started, voted upon by the good people of Goodreads in my first ever poll: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!

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Six of Crows thus far has been really incredible. I’m about 100 pages in and the extent of the world building is really impressive. There’s a lot going on here and I’m having a bit of a hard time keeping up with everything but it’s not detracting from my overall enjoyment of the story development. I’m completely rapt in the story that has been laid out so far and I’m really thrilled to be starting such a highly rated fantasy series. One of the things that always strikes me the most about these types of novels is the development into so many different characters and story-lines. Past that, the setting and world become a character in-and-of-itself and that’s truly captivating for me.

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From Goodreads:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.


Have you read Six of Crows or anything by Leigh Bardugo – what did you think? What are some reads you’re excited to have started? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

Down the TBR Hole #1!

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Down the TBR Hole was originally created by Lost in a Story and this is how it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
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Down we go.

So as I have mentioned numerous times I kind of started over this year and wanted to have a clean slate so I removed a ton of stuff from my GR account because I’ve had one for so long. So most of these were added at the start of this year!

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Small Sacrifices: A True Story of Passion and Murder by Ann Rule

As an admitted true-crime junkie this is one I’ve heard about mentioned on two of my favorite podcasts: The Last Podcast on the Left and My Favorite Murder so it’s been on my radar for a hot minute. I do tend towards fiction but the synopsis of this just immediately grabbed my attention. When originally adding this to my list today, I was thinking I’d let it go but after look at the reviews – I think it’s high-time I move it right on up the TBR. Verdict: KEEP. 

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The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

Another thing I admittedly love is the entire genre of fantasy. This series was suggested to me by one of my very best friends when we were doing a book club together earlier this year. It’s quite the undertaking because it’s a large book and a series but boasting such incredibly high ratings, I can’t help but keep this on my list! Verdict: KEEP.

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Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson 

Full disclosure: I do not remember adding this one to my list at all and I’ve come back to it a few times and glossed right over it every time. I went on a pretty big thriller binge earlier this year so I’m sure that’s where this one came from but despite the semi-intriguing synopsis every time I put in my library order or am looking for fresh reads I don’t feel *in the mood* to sink my teeth into this one. Verdict: BYE FELICIA 

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The Martian by Andy Weir 

This one happens to be in my owned but yet to be read TBR pile and is also one of my husbands absolute favorite books. I have seen the movie (even though I vastly prefer to read before seeing) and I absolutely loved it. My husband has told me there is humor, depth, an excellent story line and superb writing to be had in this read so while sci-fi is not normally my shtick I can’t let this one out of my sights. Verdict: KEEP. 

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Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Another on my list of “have seen before I read” reads! I absolutely adore the movie rendition of this book and if you don’t love it or haven’t seen it I honestly can’t help you. Sandra Bullock in literally anything is likely to be right on up my alley. However, despite loving the movie – I didn’t know this was a book until one of my friends put it up on her Instagram story and it sparked my immediate interest. I’ve actually tried to find it multiple times at Half Price Books but I’ve not struck gold yet. For some reason it sits on my TBR despite being pretty high on my list but there are so many books to read!! Verdict: KEEP.


Well, there you have it! My slow beginnings of trying to chip away at my ever growing TBR pile. Have you read any of these titles – if so, what did you think? How big is your TBR pile? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

Top 3 Thursday: Least Favorite Tropes!

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Ah yes, another Friday-Eve. The excitement of the weekend is upon us but alas, we still have two whole, full work days ahead of us. How will we survive these last two days? Well, we’ll talk about books, read and dream of the uninterrupted reading bliss that is the *weekend*.

Today I wanted to contribute to another round of Top 3 Thursday! A meme hosted by A Cozy Reader that has ever changing topics for top 3 book related content. This weeks feature is “least favorite tropes” and is one I think we all can come up with at least a few that we’re tired of seeing! Remember to link up with A Cozy Reader if you participate! 

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Some more sick dance moves added to my dance bank of enthusiasm. 

The “ugly = bad, attractive = good” trope.

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There’s nothing I find quite as irksome as using physical appearance to build someone up or tear them down. I find myself immediately turned off when I start reading a book and the beautiful, fit, straight-teethed, clear-faced character is the “good guy” and the ugly, gross, fat, pock-marked character is the “bad guy” (looking at you Rea Frey). I generally am not a fan of “Mary-Sue’s” as a trope all on its own but I find it EVEN WORSE when they make the antagonist a hideous monster. I don’t think physical appearance has nearly anything to do with whether you are a good person or not. I’ve know some seriously stunning people who are absolute and complete dumpster fires of a human being and their physical appearance didn’t make them any more appealing to me. While I do love fantasy, I want my characters grounded in at least a somewhat realistic base and this comes off completely flat for me.

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Ah yes, the dreaded ‘love at first sight’, ‘soul mate’, ‘one true love’ conundrum that plagues modern day literature. I’ve mentioned it in some of my other reviews but I am not a believer in literally any of these things. Look, I love the shit out of my husband. We’ve been together for over a decade, there’s literally no one else I could even imagine being with, HOWEVER, he isn’t the only person on this planet I’m probably compatible with. If ‘one true love’ is a thing – what happens if he dies and I get remarried or vise versa? Was our love not the real deal? No, I don’t think that’s the case. You find this a lot more in typical YA novels (and I’ll admit I can be a sucker for the dreaded love-triangle when done well) but love takes time to develop and grow – it does not happen when you make eyes at some hottie across the street. Sorry, not sorry ’bout it.

*Side-note: I actually really loved Twilight in high-school when the books came out (LOLOLOL) and me and my best friends have been slowly re-watching the movies when we’re together and it’s freakin’ HILARIOUS. If you do re-watch the movies, watch them with the subtitles on because I shit you not “sinister wooshing” plays across the screen at one point. 

Describing characters by equating them to modern-day celebrities.

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Could literally watch this movie six billion times.

Another trope I just can’t get past is when an author can’t just describe what a character looks like without calling them a “Heath Ledger look-alike”. I mean, the whole reason I’m reading a book, instead of watching a movie is because I want more detail, more finesse than a movie offers. If I want to watch Anne Hathaway or Heath Ledger I will go watch The Princess Diaries or A Knights Tale and once an author spoon feeds me what they’re supposed to look like it screws up my entire ability to read without bias. It’s kind of like in that episode of Game of Thrones where someone, for a completely unknown reason decided that throwing in Ed-freakin-Sheeran was a good idea. It completely took me out of that world, out of the moment and the scene and that’s how I feel when an author describes someone by telling us they look like someone else. No one actually looks like anyone else!!! 


 Anywho, those are my least favorite tropes! Do you like or dislike these? What are some tropes you’re tired of seeing? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

Review: Senile Squad by Chris LeGrow!

Happy hump-day readers! I’m really working on getting at least two reviews + recipes up before the surgery, but it’s less than two weeks away and they’re quite a bit more time consuming. However, I shall press on with regular old reviews for now! Today I’m bringing you a review for Senile Squad: Adventures of the Old Blues by Chris LeGrow. This is a super fun one for me because the author actually reached out to me directly to send me a copy of his book (he even signed it)! So huge thank you to Chris LeGrow for sharing this great read with me!

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Initial Thoughts:

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*new book goofin’* 

“Ol’ Blues” are officers that the *youths* on the force might think are outdated, with one foot in the grave and little to contribute. However, they also have extensive knowledge, experience and expertise they’ve been honing for many years that can be invaluable to solving a crime. Enter Ben Mitchell. Ben see’s the value in these Ol’ Blues and with a team of wealthy benefactors, he’s got money to burn and an idea to hatch.

These old cops can do things the current officers can’t. They can conduct surveillance, obtain evidence, and walk right up to gang members, criminals, and not even be noticed.

There’s little more innocuous than a cute little old man ambling about the park. With this idea Ben decides to put these men to good use. By creating a retirement home, fashioned after old school police stations and implementing retired police officers he breathes new life into our cast of characters along with new information to solve an ever growing crime problem in Omaha, Nebraska.

Enter Clubba: a Sudanese gang leader with a penchant for violence and terror. In an effort to keep the community quiet he’s dealing out lessons in silence using force, fear and death. He’s ready to unite gangs and rule the territory like a savage King. The only thing Clubba didn’t take into account? The old geezers that no one was paying attention to in the park – they’re here, they’ve been listening and they’re ready.

All those years as a cop gave him a constant sense of curiosity that never went away. Anytime he found something suspicious, he had to check it out. He hated that in the blink of an eye, he’d gotten old. His body betrayed him at every turn, especially recently. There was, however, one advantage that came with advancing age. It gave him an edge he had never possessed before. 

If I had to sum up how I felt reading this book in two words they would be: refreshing and delightful. If you’ve been following my reviews you know I went on a bit of a mystery / thriller binge with quite a few police procedural drama’s thrown in there. While I love the thriller genre as a whole, the police procedural novels are generally a little bit slower and less enticing for me. However, that was absolutely not the case with Senile Squad. When I first read the synopsis of this book I was immediately taken in by the unique vision of the plot. There’s something so effortlessly charming about the idea of retired police officers dolling out vigilante justice and revitalizing their lives to their former glory. Well, LeGrow delivered charm, wit and a solid story line in spades.

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again – I don’t have to like the characters in a book to enjoy it but it always tickles me when I find myself connecting to them and enjoying their company. The team of Ol’ Blues in this read were so much fun to read and it’s been a while since I’ve read something that felt that way. I don’t know if it’s just me but this cast of characters gave me a bit of an A-Team vibe and I absolutely adored the interactions between these characters (particularly Sarge). What can I say – I’m a sucker for a book that makes me want to know the characters instead of just read about them.

…”but I want to point out that these men not only assisted local law enforcement with community relations, but they solved several major crime sprees. A lot of criminals are behind bars – or on their way – because of the efforts of these Ol’ Blues.”

While this was a funny, charming, light and entertaining read what took me by surprise was the subtle depth and meaning that underlies the story once you get to the end. I wont give away any spoilers but this book really has so much going for it. There are times when I was literally laughing out loud and other times that ultimately left me pondering life and the importance of having something in it that makes you feel alive.

In the end, you will have to suspend some reality to get into this one but that’s pretty par for the course in fiction. This was a fun, well paced and wholly original book and I’ve read nothing quite like it… well, ever. Sometimes, at the end of the year I fall into a bit of a slump getting through books and Senile Squad was just what I needed to pull me out of that!

Long Story Short:

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The geezers have gone rouge ya’ll.

Suggested For: Fans of police procedurals, fans of mystery novels or anyone looking for something unique and a fresh take on an old trope!

Music Mood: Young & Free by Dermot Kennedy

Top 5 Tuesday: Winter Reads!

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Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by Bionic Book Worm where different topics are explored each week. Go check out her list this week because there are some great winter reads on there! Remember if you participate in the meme to link her back! 

So the last T5T I took part in was “cozy reads” and I used it to talk about books I’ve already read that reminded me of winter and coziness. So instead of talking about books I’ve read, I thought I’d use today’s T5T to talk about the books I’m going to be reading this winter! If you’ve been following my blog you know that my New Years Resolution was to step outside of the types of books I’d been reading because I was blowing through my Kindle, spending money on mediocre reads and not even finishing them *audible gasp from the audience*.

I was DNF-ing with a speed that was honestly ridiculous. Since switching things up I’ve found some truly fantastic books to add to my favorites shelf and it’s one of the best choices I’ve made in a long time. HOWEVER, since reading the Arc of a Scythe series I’ve been really feeling the fantasy vibe. Fantasy is such a great winter read so I’m getting a bit back to my roots and I’ve requested many books from the library that are due in this week!

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Thinkin’ bout my epic upcoming reads.

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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang

Orphaned, raised by wolves, and the proud owner of a horned pig named Merlin, Weylyn Grey knew he wasn’t like other people. But when he single-handedly stopped that tornado on a stormy Christmas day in Oklahoma, he realized just how different he actually was.

Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance tells the story of Weylyn Grey’s life from the perspectives of the people who knew him, loved him, and even a few who thought he was just plain weird. Although he doesn’t stay in any of their lives for long, he leaves each of them with a story to tell. Stories about a boy who lives with wolves, great storms that evaporate into thin air, fireflies that make phosphorescent honey, and a house filled with spider webs and the strange man who inhabits it.

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My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Dry by Neal Shusterman *obvi have to fit another in because I’m OBSESSED*

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

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Ya’ll probably think I’m kidding but, this is really what I look like when I get home from the library.

Have you read any of these titles – let me know what you thought! What books do you have coming up for the winter season? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!

 

[Belated] Sneak Peak Sunday: Watching You by Lisa Jewell!

Two Posts. One Day. YAS!! I have to fit in all the blogging before the 11th because who knows how my life is going to shake out during the end of the year into the start of 2019. Sneak Peak Sunday is a meme created by the wonderful Traveling Sisters and Brenda and I are linking up this week to bring you all another installment! Sneak Peak Sunday is a meme used to highlight books we’ve recently started and our initial thoughts right out of the gate! We’d love to see what everyone else is reading so feel free to participate and link up!

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Ah yes, extreme enthusiasm: my M.O.

This week I’m bringing you my initial thoughts on Watching You by Lisa Jewell. This is a group read with the Traveling Sisters and I’m really excited to see what everyone thinks! The initial response in the reviews on Goodreads has been excellent so I’m even more excited than I was before. Well, this baby starts out with a serious BANG. I love little formatting changes, and the first pages of this are in the form of a diary entry. I’m not sure why I love little things like this so much but changes in formatting and the way information is delivered has always helped break up a novel for me and create a sense of urgency to understand more.

We’ve got all the makings of a knock-out here folks! We’ve got a police detective, looking over a dead body – murdered in a frenzy, evidence washed clean in the sink and suspicious circumstances abound! This is clearly going to be done in flash-backs, which if you read my reviews you know I love them! Joey is going to be one of our MCs and we start off with her speaking to her late mother at her grave, so emotional heartstrings are also at play here. I can already tell I’m going to fly through this one because I’ve got to get back to work but I absolutely don’t want to!

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From Goodreads:

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighbourhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam… 

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What I look like rapidly consuming this read!

Have you read Watching You – what did you think? What are some reads you’ve just started that you’re already excited about? Drop me a note in the comments and let me know!