Goodbye 2018

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Can you believe we say goodbye to 2018 tonight? I’m not always sure where the year has gone, how it’s already going to be January again, a new start, a fresh year with millions of possibilities.

I think part of my problem right now is that it doesn’t FEEL like it’s the end of the year outside. I live in the Midwest, where we normally have snow from December to March. But this winter has been so weird, very off because we’ve had a lot of rain and almost no snow. I keep waiting for it to feel like it should be winter, like it’s ready to be a new year or the Holidays, but it just hasn’t happened.

Overall, I still feel like I’m not ready for the year to be over. There are a few things I’d wanted to have finished before 2018 ended and a new year had taken its place, but sometimes life just happens that way, right?

This year has seen my health and Mom’s health get a little better. I’ve been part of a writer’s group for a little over a year and I’m loving the connection it’s given me. I published three shorts this year as well, and have finished writing two others that need to be edited. I’ve also made some headway on editing a finished manuscript, and editing one that still needs the last couple chapters added to it to be considered finished.

I’m hoping I can keep the momentum up for 2019, keep the writing up, and keep up the editing. I’d love to be finished editing the manuscript by the end of next year.

I also read 50 books this year. My original goal for 2018 was 24 books. So 2019’s goal will be 75, I think. It takes into account how much I have read, and pushes me to read a little more. I didn’t always keep to my reading TBRs that were set for the month, and there were some months I didn’t read at all which is why I’m looking to add to my goal for 2019 as well. Because I know where I can improve already.  I do think I’ll keep my monthly TBR lists to three books a month, and that way I leave some space for some non-list books that fall my way as well.

I did better this year with my blog as well, posting more than I did in 2017, but again there’s still some room for improvement. I mean, I can just look at this month to see that. I missed the Mondays between the first and last of the month. I don’t spend a lot of time on the computer when I’m not at work, but because I’m pushing to work more on my writing that’s changing and it’s a good thing overall. Leads me to be more productive when I’m at home, or on vacation from work.

So yes, lots of hopeful plans this year. If you’re interested in the shorts I published, please check out the My Books section here.

I hope you have a Safe New Year’s Eve, and that 2019 brings great things for all of us!

Hello December – When Did You Arrive?

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So November is over. We saw it off with a fond farewell, a glass of Strongbow (my drink of choice), and a yippe!

Why?

Because National Novel Writing Month is over! And whether you achieved 50 words or 50,000 words, pat yourself on the back. Because you wrote, or you plotted and planned and honed your craft or business another way. There are many reasons for you to pat yourself on the back for what you did in November I’m sure.

I had good intentions of posting my stats throughout November as I went, weekly check-ins, but that kind of went down the tube.

With the year wrapping up, and finals arriving, a Holiday Party to plan, decorate and orchestrate mostly on my own for my department, things tend to ramp up here at work. Not only that, but applications for Fall are in full incoming mode as well, and I work closely with the DGS for ensuring materials are in, applications are reviewed, and questions are answered during this season – something that won’t officially end until February.

For me, my NaNo was kind of all over the place. I went through slumps, I wrote on several different stories to get my words, but I did achieve my word count.

And now December is here! With ice, snow, and darker mornings that make it difficult to want to get up for work. And I have two weeks before I am off for the Christmas Holiday. I get a little under two weeks of paid vacation off between Christmas and New Years – in which I’m hoping to both get a lot of writing done, reading done, and cleaning done.

Mom and I are hoping to move in a couple years. Somewhere maybe a little smaller, with a smaller yard that won’t take too much to manage. Ideally, I’m hoping for a three bedroom, two bath house. So we can have a guest room/library/office room, which we don’t really have now. We have a studio/office now but I guess part of the problem is it’s where everything from the living room goes when we have company – and the stuff from their last visit is still sitting in there being piled upon. So one of the goals this break is to get the living room and office cleaned out.

I’m trying to hand make some of my Christmas stuff this year. Though, that’s partially dependant on the stores shipping me the items I need make them. I’m just sitting here watching the order tracking information, waiting for them to be out for delivery. After I’m sure people have opened their presents, I’ll see about posting a picture of the final products on here. Not before.

I only have three books on my TBR this month, partially because I’m still working on writing things and with the Holidays, I’m crafting Holiday presents, and the last week of December is pretty much all Family stuff.

What books would those be?

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince is a serious need for me to read with The Wicked King coming out in January. I have the Owl Crate covered edition of The Cruel Prince, and last month they released the sales for a special edition box for the release of The Wicked King – with a special cover to make their The Cruel Prince cover. So I’m kind of super excited to see what the cover will look like when I get the box. So that’s a hard must read before the month is over.

What are you planning to read this Month? Did you reach your reading goal for 2018? Let me know down in the comments!

Repeat After Me – A Lesson We All Need

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I’d originally planned on a NaNo Update because it’s the 30th and NaNo ends tonight. I’ve been kind of off social media because I’ve been working hard to keep my word count up, and keep on NaNo.

Checking in today I can’t help but sigh. I thought after everything with the whole #Cockygate getting massive attention that we were over this and done with it. But no. Apparently not.

Among the posts that I scrolled through to catch up what I’d missed, I come across yet another author complaining that someone ‘stole’ her title.

Can we all repeat after me?

Titles can NOT be copywritten.

Titles can occasionally be the same.

It happens in the publishing world.

Titles that are similar or the same do NOT mean that the books are the same, does NOT mean the plot is the same and DOES NOT mean that the title was stolen from someone else or that they’re trying to ride someone else’s coattails.

Books can share a title, and even a general concept and still be completely different because it’s not the title that should be selling the book. It should be the author – his or her self – and the morals, ethics, and reputation that they build with their community and the craft that’s under that title that sells the book, and not just sells the book but defines the book.

No title, unless it’s a 100% made up word, is going to be unique. While there are a LOT of words in the known languages, they are finite and that means that there will occasionally be similar or duplicate titles. This shouldn’t stop someone from publishing or feeling like they now have to change their title because of it.

If you search ‘Cocky Dragon Slayer’ on Amazon you’ll find five books written by five different authors, with five different covers. All five of us decided to use that same title because it was an experiment to prove to the world that while the titles may be the same, the story that existed behind that title would be vastly different from each other because we are different people and we each have our own unique stories to write.
And that’s exactly what happened. Each tale is unique not because of the cover or title, but because we all had different ideas on where to take the story, how the world our stories take place in worked, and how the mythos in that world unfurled.

So can we please all agree to stop trying to stake claim to words and titles?

We may build our lives out of them, but we don’t own them – unless you choose to create your own language in which case you do to a point own them.

Stop throwing mud at others because a title is similar.

Stop causing a fuss because you think you have the corner on a certain word – you don’t.

And stop thinking that if you do decide to publicly complain about that it will do great things for your community and career. It won’t. Most of us, the ones especially that have crawled out of the dust and debris from #cockygate? We’ll only judge you super hard for it, and potentially blacklist your books – current and future – from our TBR piles because we know a social ploy to grab attention a mile away now.

In the wake of what we’ve been through this year, the try for a public flaying for similar titles isn’t going to work much anymore. Especially not on Twitter. You can’t claim ‘well I didn’t know anymore’. At this point, it’s like stepping willfully in front of a bus, getting hit, and then turning around and claiming that the driver hit you on purpose. We can all see you gauging how fast that bus is coming. We can see you thinking about how much damage it might do versus getting your name out there in the public eye. And we can all see you taking that knowing step into the abyss.

It’s not amusing. It’s not cute. And you’re not the victim here. The person you’re trying to call out on social media, to hundreds of thousands of people? That person is the victim. And you should be ashamed of yourself for even trying this. You’re dragging them across coals for something that you don’t own. And your readers, the ones who will blindly believe you? It will be your fault, and your fire to manage and try to put out if they go after the other person. That’s all on you.

If you’re thinking of trying this? Don’t. You’ll only ruin your reputation with thousands of people who didn’t know you before, and will now for all the wrong reasons.

Trust in the work you do. Trust in your craft and your own creativity. Trust that readers know titles occasionally bump against each other in the night and it doesn’t reflect on the authors’ creativity when that happens, it just means that maybe they find two or three books they’ll enjoy instead of just one.

The author in question that caused me to write this blog post? I’ve heard nothing but good things from their debut novel. It’s been praised left and right on my social media.  I have planned to read it to see what all those great things were about, and now? Now I won’t. I have no interest in supporting someone that decides to be this petty and try to ruin another person. There was no need to do this, except that they apparently doubted themselves and their work enough to try to grab attention.

And no, I’m not listing the authors’ names and titles. I’m leaving them out of this blog post on purpose. Why? Because at the end of the day the social media post in question is just adding a log onto a fire that was starting to simmer down instead of a bucket of water that it needed. The who of it isn’t important. The actions are the problem, and so I’m choosing to focus on the actions instead of the person.

Also because this blog post is a call out to all authors out there, not just the one that recently screwed up. Think before you get huffy about someone else sharing your title. The amount of work that you put into that lovingly handpicked title? So did they. They didn’t pick it too to hurt you, steal from you, or use your sale numbers to get ahead. Odds are, even if it’s a best seller, they may not have heard about you – especially if you’re not in the same genre they are. Odds are? It was just a coincidence.

Just let it be that ship passing in the night. Stand on the bow of your ship, hold up your lantern, and wave at each other peacefully. There’s more than enough room in this ocean for everyone.

November Is Here! – Only a week late

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I can almost not fathom that it’s already the 8th of November. I wish I could say ‘where did the beginning of the month go?!’ but honestly, I know where it went. It went into my writing.

October’s TBR list didn’t get read. The hazard of NaNo Prep during that month. I ended up being more than a little ambitious considering just how much I really had on my plate. I’m ALMOST done with the werewolf short from October, however not completely. And of course, with the start of November, I’ve started my planned November WIP – also werewolf based but a completely different cast of characters. I haven’t fully decided if I wanted the two to exist in the same world or not.

NaNo specifically has been going fairly well for me, and I hope *knocks on wood* that it continues to go well for me. How well, I know you’re thinking. Well here’s a breakdown of the first seven days of my month:

November 1 – 526 words (I started out a little rough, not going to lie)
November 2 – 4,547 words (NaNo Total: 5,073)
November 3 – 1,949 words (NaNo Total: 7,022)
November 4 – 2,399 words (NaNo Total: 9,421)
November 5 – 2,655 words (NaNo Total: 12,076)
November 6 – 2,355 words (NaNo Total: 14,431)
November 7 – 1,771 words (NaNo Total: 16,202)

I know it’s the 8th as I write and post this, but I’m not including today because It’s only 10am. I still have most of the day to get more words in before I have to tally what I’ve written today, though I know that it’s around 800 already.

I always get into work a little early, so I’ve been trying to get words in before I officially start, and if I haven’t reached my word count for the day by the time I get home I make sure to sit down and get the words in after dinner before I get to read, watch tv or video game. It’s been a real motivator recently because I’ve started playing a new game that has daily stuff to do and I enjoy winding down and just getting those dailies done. Which gives me a great motivator for getting my word count in so I can do that.

I’m also being a NaNo Rebel this year. I’m not working on one full-length novel, but instead my goal is to get three 20,000 word shorts done – which does mean that keeping ahead of the word count isn’t a bad thing but it’s almost mandatory because I have to be able to squeeze an extra 10,000 words into my NaNo Goal personally this month.

And on top of working on NaNo, if I’ve reached my word count for the day and I’m feeling it, I’ve been adding to my October WIP to continue to try and get it finished. I’ve currently got about 1,300 words that I’ve written on it during the month of November that I haven’t counted toward my NaNo word count. I haven’t decided if I’m going to add them in at the end or not. Technically they are words written, toward a body of fiction, during the month of November so they should count. But part of me wants to be stubborn and only count my dedicated November WIP because it will push me to ensure I get those words on that work.

How is your NaNo going so far? Not participating, how is your November going so far? Let me know down in the comments.

💀New Release – The Reaping💀

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Just in time for Halloween, a new spooky short!

The Reaping

While their parents are away Katie and Josh watch as a dark storm rolls into town. With it, strange shadows lurking outside their window can be seen outside the house.

What are the strange shadows outside the in the rain?
Are Katie and Josh just jumping at shadows?

Find out in this creepy, short read just in time for Halloween.

You can find the book HERE for purchase or free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

Where oh where did October go?

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I do not know where my month has gone. I’ve been elbow deep in a werewolf story all month, pushing to get it written before November arrives. It’s one less story that’s off my mind while I strive for 50,000 words in 30 days.

The weeknights have been what have caused me to lag a bit, and it’s something I need to work out before November gets here because there are no excuses for my November daily word count and it must be achieved.

I’m close to the end, so I am pretty confident I can get it done before November. And I’m slowly working on planning out my November story so it’s ready to go on the 1st.

Reading is going slow but is going. I’ll get that updated soon. Mostly I’m just super focused on my current WIP and the planning for my November WIP. I have faith for getting November done and getting a win!

And this is going to be a super quick update because I need to get back to writing. Plus, aside from being elbow deep in words, I nothing else is happening. Like literally, my last two weekends I’ve been locked in my room writing.

When not writing, I binged Haunted and The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, and caught up on all but the final two episodes Wynonna Earp. And to be fair, I wrote while watching Wynonna Earp, so multitasking for the win there.

Are you ready for NaNo? Are you a pantser or a planner? Let me know in the comments!

Also, if you want to be my writing buddy on NaNo’s website, my name is MerisCorner.

September Wrap-Up / October TBR

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So, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. I went through a stage where I hadn’t been reading as much, and when I was it tended to be absolutely nothing off my TBR list. And so doing the lists fell by the wayside for a while.

But.

and I do mean BUT!

I’m picking them back up again. Dusting them off gently. And refreshing them so they are 100% doing well again.

Now, not to date my poor TBR list, but back in May *coughs softly* I had set myself a list to read. And SOME of it ended up being read. About 50% of it if we’re being honest.

The books I finished in August and September are:

  • Twisted gifts by Jessi Elliott
  • The Elite by Kiera Cass
  • Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau
  • Doppelganger by Alyssa Drake
  • Daughter of Persephone by Helen Scott
  • Vicious by VE Schwab
  • Tasting Gretel by Lidiya Foxglove
  • Prisoner of Silk by Lidiya Foxglove

Three of those books were on my May TBR list. But overall seven books is nothing to shake a stick at for reading purposes and all. And to be fair to me, Stalking Jack the Ripper would have been read if I could have found the book. I remember finding it when I was cleaning, but I was reading something else so I put it aside for later. After finishing the book, I went back to grab Stalking and it was gone. -_-

So, the May TBR that was not complete was:

  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Chosen by Harlow Thomas & Anastasia Jones

For An Ember in the Ashes, it was less I didn’t want to read it and more, my Mother has a kindle that’s attached to my library and she’s currently reading it (63% done with it) so I’m going to wait until she’s done before I try and read it. If that happens in October and I am doing good on my TBR list I may dive into it. Otherwise, it will be back on my list in November.

For October I only have five books on it officially, and then there are two that are on it, if I finish my list early and still have some October left.

  • Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Hope in Paris by Donnalyn Vojta
  • Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
  • Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

The two maybe’s are:

  • Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaar Tahir

For Stalking, I’m planning to borrow it from the library so I can read it if I can’t find my hard copy. I don’t want to have to buy it again if I don’t need to, and I already know that the moment – and I do mean the moment – that I purchase a new copy and get three chapters in the original copy will magically appear and be all ‘what, I was just chillin’ next to this chair you checked by seventy times’. Because that’s always how it goes. The dragons and/or the ghost of my dad – or both teaming up together – have a very twisted sense of humor.

Writing wise, I have two shorts that I’d like to get finished, one a dragon story and one a werewolf story. As well, I have my Prep’Tober work to do so I’m ready and Prepared for NaNoWrioMo in *checks calendar* 30 days.

Currently, my NaNo project has the main characters name, nickname, minor description, her two brothers have names, and the town has a name and the center of town has a layout. oh! and the series itself (it’s a collection of 12-13 shorts) has a name!

I have a vague idea of where I’m going to start for plot and the like for each short, but nothing concrete, nothing set in stone, and nothing that will make sure I can get myself through the month with actual words on the page. But, I have a few weeks to get it there. I have goals! And they shall nay be ignored! =)

What are you reading for this October season? Are you participating in NaNo next month? Are you ready for NaNo next month? Leave me an answer in the comments below!

Book Review: Twisted Gift by Jessi Elliott

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Author: Jessi Elliott 
Publisher: Jessi Elliott
SeriesTwisted #2
Genre: Urban Fantasy (New Adult Romance)
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Rating: 5 Stars

Find Twisted Gift on GoodReads

WARNING – There may be Spoilers for Twisted Fate (Book 1). Pick up a copy here before you continue with this review of book 2!

Let me start out with the fact that I have been pining for this book since I finished Twisted Fate. The way Aurora and Tristan ended up leaving things kind of broke my heart. So to say that I needed to know what had happened to them, so the anticipation of this book was nothing short of zomg where is it excitement.

Becoming Fae was never something that Aurora planned for, and hadn’t expected. But life didn’t leave much in the way of arguing for Aurora after she killed the leader of the light fae and took on his powers, becoming that leader herself. Suddenly she’s forced to figure out how to feed, how to use her powers, and how to manage the emotions of those around her when she can barely hold onto and manage her own as her world shifts upside down.

Not to mention that while she’s adjusting, the world continues to turn and the war between the light and dark fae rages on.

Wanting to help the fae find peace, Aurora swallows her pain and agrees to work with Tristan despite all the emotions and memories doing so brings up. But when they come together to end the war and bring their people together, they find that there are twisted creatures lurking in the dark.

Everything I loved about Twisted Fate is present in Twisted Gift. Realistic characters with heart-wrenching pain and smiling inducing happiness, captivating plot, and addictive prose. I devoured this book, never wanting to put it down for fear of taking too long to find out what happens next.

The story picked up effortlessly from book one, while still carving its own path of enjoyment. The plot was well wrapped up by the end of the book, as was the overarching storyline for the characters between the two books. I recommend picking up a copy if you love a good romance story, good urban fantasy, and a bit of magic.

I can’t wait to see what Jessi will publish next!

Disclaimer: I did receive an arc of the book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion. All thoughts are my own, and were not colored for receiving the arc.

Remember to find Twisted Gift on GoodReads

Synopsis

Being the new leader of the light fae really puts a dent in your post-grad plans.

Aurora, once a snarky business major, struggles to adjust to fae life—and the diet of human energy that comes with it. A change made worse by the overwhelming ability to feel the emotions of everyone around her, especially when she can barely manage her own.

Agreeing to work with her dark fae counterpart, Tristan, in an attempt to bring peace between their people is a painful reminder of how strong they are together. Even still, Aurora fights the urge to keep her distance. She needs to be sure what she feels for him is real, and not a result of the former light fae leader’s manipulation as a part of his plan to eliminate Tristan.

Aurora thought she’d encountered the worst thing since early morning lectures when she stumbled into the world of the fae. She’s about to find out that they may not be the most twisted creatures out there.

Available September 21st

Amazon | iBooks | KOBO | Signed Paperback

TWISTED FATE (Book 1) IS ON SALE FOR 0.99c!

Amazon | iBooks | KOBO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | GoodReads | YouTube

Jessi Elliott is a law clerk and author of both young adult and new adult romantic fiction. Her love of writing was born after many years of reading and reviewing books on her blog.

She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her adorable cat, Phoebe. Yes, named after the Friends character.

When she’s not plotting her next writing project, she likes to spend her time hanging with friends and family, getting lost in a steamy romance novel, watching Friends, and drinking coffee.

You can find Jessi at www.jessielliott.com, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can join her newsletter to stay up to date on book news and upcoming releases.

Join her Facebook reader group, Jessi Elliott’s Twisted Sweethearts, for exclusive news, promos, review opportunities, and giveaways!

Feelin’ Accomplished

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I just updated my little bookshelf with the books I’ve read this year and realized that to last the rest of the year I’m going to have to extend the little drawn bookshelf to the next page. It’s lucky that I left it blank just in case. I had enough books on the shelf for my GoodRead’s challenge of 24 books, but I’ve surpassed that this month. And I have high hopes and goals for the remaining months of the year to get through lots more books.

My writing has been slow the last month or so. I’ve been feeling under the weather, so I’ve been focusing on reading and resting versus plotting and writing. Though lots of plotting needs to start because I fully intend to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

I have started some of my planning for NaNo. As I mentioned before, I’m going to be a rebel and do a collection of shorts instead of one Novel. I finally figured out the overall theme of each of the shorts in the collection. Now I just need to work out the plot for each of the individual shorts. I’m getting there and I should be done in plenty of time to settle into November and my massive word demands. =)

I know this has been a short update, but I don’t have too much to report past plotting for NaNo and my reading. I was under the weather, but I’m getting better and so there’s not too much to report there. Work has been super stressful as well, which hasn’t helped me to keep up on everything. I have a backlog of reviews I want to get up and out, so I’m hoping to work on those this week and see if I can get them scheduled.

I have a review coming out tomorrow, super excited for it. So definitely be sure to come back for that!

New Fall, who dis?

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Can you believe that it’s Fall?

I mean, ignore the fact that it’s been like 80/90 degrees – way too warm for the sweater weather it’s supposed to be. Though it’s started to rain a lot this week, so that may be slowly settling where it should be.

September means school is back in session. There are no Holidays from work until Thanksgiving in November. I have two months to finish planning for NaNoWriMo. And at some point, when the trees stop believing it’s summer, there will be pretty colors all around before they fall to the ground. Though, my poor Maple Trees already have that fungus that grows on them when it’s too wet in the season. Hopefully, it will clear up so I can get some good photos of the color change though.

With school back in session, I’m busier than ever at my job. Especially because the day I intended to write this blog post and get it up, the entire University had a power surge that took out the computers for a bit, took out the internet for a couple hours, and has left a string of issues in its wake. A brand new phone, it was legit installed last week new, is now dead because of it and needs to be replaced. One of my graduate student’s computers hard drive is now dead because of it – and this computer was bought in August. Thankfully because both are brand new, they’re both under warranty to have replaced.

It’s left a lot of running to fix problems the last couple days. I’m finally winding down enough to think straight and focus on a few things other than work.

I’m currently working out a series of shorts that I plan to get a jump start on during NaNo. That’s right, I’m going to be a rebel! I’m looking to do three 20K shorts during NaNo instead of one 50K novel. It does, though, mean that my goal for NaNo will be approximately 10K longer than the official goal though, so in a way I’m paying for being a rebel by having to work a little harder to get there. But I think, with a solid plan on what I’m doing and where I’m going, that it’s completely doable.

I’m also thinking of participating in PenTober.

What is PenTober? Well, if you’ve ever been on Instagram or Twitter, you’ll probably know of the InkTober event where artists are given a list of prompts, one for every day in October, and they draw something related to that prompt. PenTober is similar, except we’re not drawing – we’re writing.

The goal is to write 500 words or less, every day. Ideally incorporating the prompt for the day, but the organizer’s main goal is to just get everyone writing every day.

For more information, you can check out their website here.

Labor day weekend I wandered around and hit two used bookstores. The books I scored copies of are in the photo above. Overall, I think it’s a pretty awesome haul of new things. And, I’m sure you’re going, but you haven’t updated your TBR list since May, but have no fear. I’m slowly working on that list now. I’m halfway through The Elite as I type this. So while the current May TBR stands for September, there WILL be a new TBR for October.

Speaking of October and TBRs. If you have any creepy horror novel suggestions for me to give a try during the spooky month, please be sure to drop them in the comments! I’d love some more haunting reads for the upcoming month.