Top Ten Tuesday: My Summer TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books to Read By the Pool/At the Beach (This can also serve as your summer TBR). I’m very much a mood reader so I find it hard to stick to a set TBR list, but these are all books I’m hoping to read soon.

36301023My Plain Jane by the Lady Janies (Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows). My Lady Jane was such a surprise hit for me and has become one of my favorite books and I have been looking forward to this one ever since reading it.36347470Dead Drift (Chesapeake Valor #4) by Dani Pettrey. This is the last book in this series and I’m really excited for it.35924499Our House by Louise Candlish. I got approved for this on NetGalley, but I also won a physical copy from a Goodreads Giveaway and I’m really looking forward to it.36502041Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter. Slaughter is one of my favorite authors and I’m sure I will enjoy this just as much as I have her other books. I’m over 100 people on the wait list for this at the library, though, so I don’t know if I’ll even get it this summer, but fingers crossed!36620943Good Luck with That by Kristan Higgins. I FINALLY got approved for a Kristan Higgins book on NetGalley, but I still haven’t read this yet. I’m really looking forward to starting it soon, though.35410511Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere and I’m a little concerned it’s been over-hyped for me, but I’m still looking forward to it. It sounds super creepy – in a fun way.37793086Girl’s Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke. I’ve never read anything by these authors and this one sounds really interesting. Plus, I love that cover!36461789A Noise Downstairs by Linwood Barclay. Barclay is one of my favorite authors and I’m so excited for this one. I am also planning on seeing him when he’s in the area in July with my book buddy, Amanda!33413128Beartown (Beartown #1) by Fredrik Backman. I hear such amazing things about Backman, but I was never really sure of his books. However, Brandie from Running on Words and Wine recently read and loved this one and she let me borrow it, so I’m looking forward to finally giving him a try!36547961Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. I’ve seen some really great reviews on this one and I am next in line for it at the library!

What books are on your Summer TBR? Do we have any in common?

Favorite Mysteries and Thrillers

This week on Good Reads is Mystery and Thriller Week, so I thought I’d celebrate by sharing some of my favorite books from the genre (links go to my reviews).

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Sharon Bolton is one of my very favorite authors and all of her books I’ve read have been great, but my two favorite books by her (and just favorites in general) are Daisy in Chains and Now You See Me (Lacey Flint #1).

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The Imogen Grey series by Katerina Diamond is fantastic. Be forewarned that they are pretty dark, but they are so worth it!

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Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes #1) by Daniel Cole. This book completely lived up to the hype and I am dying for the next in the series.

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Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin. A different take on the serial-killer novel, smartly written, and just look at that cover!

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The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen totally lived up to the hype for me. I thought I had it all figured out, but that twist completely got me.

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Lies She Told by Cate Holahan. The story within a story really worked for me and I loved this.

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I would be remiss to have a list about my favorite mysteries without including a book by one of my favorite authors, Linwood Barclay. I really enjoy his Promise Falls books and The Twenty-Three really stood out for the panic-inducing atmosphere the book starts out with.

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Another favorite author I need to mention is Karin Slaughter. I really love her Will Trent series, as well as her standalone titles.

Ok, I’m going to stop myself here because I could go on and on with this topic. If you want to find some more great mystery titles, I am going to refer you to my favorite Mystery blogger: Annie @ TheMisstery. Several of the books I mentioned above I discovered because of her. I feel like almost every blog post she writes results in me adding another book to my TBR.

And lastly, I’m going to leave you with this fun little game that is over on Good Reads. What is the name of your mystery novel? Mine is The Stalker on Flight 42

What are some of your favorite mysteries and thrillers? What was the title of your mystery novel?

Reviewing the Unreviewed: March 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Cracked Kingdom (The Royals #5) by Erin Watt. Read March 1-3. 3 Stars. 

***BEWARE OF MILD SPOILERS***
This had all the guilty pleasure drama I expect from a Royal book. It was a decent end to the series, but I didn’t LOVE it. I wish the whole head trauma issues were written with a little more care. Though it’s never explicitly said that Sebastian has a TBI, that’s what it sounded like. TBI’s are no joke and I thought they could’ve talked a little more about it than the page or so towards the end of the book. I liked that there was resolution in regards to Steve and with Hartley’s dad and with the bomb he dropped regarding Easton at the end of the previous book – though, again, I wish there was a little more about that. As fans of the series know, the authors really rushed to get this put out by their self-imposed deadline, but I would’ve been ok with waiting just a little longer so some of the typos and few continuity issues were edited out beforehand. Overall, though, I liked Easton and Hartley together and I liked that Ella and Reed were included in the ending.

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Parting Shot (Promise Falls #4) by Linwood Barclay. Read March 1-4. 4 Stars. 

I thought The Twenty-Three was the end to the Promise Falls series, but was quite pleased to find out there was another one! After the end of this one I thought for sure there would have to be even more, but I did some research and it looks like this will be the last book set in Promise Falls (at least for a good long while). I wished we got some more of David Harwood in this book. Poor, often stupid David Harwood makes so many awful decisions, but I have always enjoyed reading about him and the previous book left his storyline kind of on a major cliffhanger. There was a cameo mention that tied things up with him, but I still feel like I wanted more. However, there was enough going on in this book without him. The book centers around Cal Weaver and Barry Duckworth and their cases. I’m always amazed by how Barclay can tie all of his many threads together and I loved how it all turned out in this one. This book reminded me why he is one of my favorite authors. The ending was more open-ended than I would’ve liked, but I still really enjoyed this book.

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Wesley James Ruined my Life by Jennifer Honeybourn. Read March 5-7. 3 Stars. 

I liked the premise of this book, but it fell a little flat for me. I expected Wesley to have done something horrific to Quinn in the past, but what he did to make her “hate” him wasn’t really that big of a deal. It reminded me a little bit of Lola and the Boy Next Door in that regard. Quinn just way overreacted. I thought she was kind of psycho when it came to her vendetta against him. And while I wanted to ship their romance, I just didn’t get it. There weren’t even really any cute moments between the two of them until the end. I didn’t feel like Quinn fell for him. It felt like she just had a childhood crush on him that never ended, but she tried to deny it for awhile. I didn’t really understand why Wesley was so interested in her, either. I did like the medieval restaurant setting, though, and there were a couple funny moments. Not one I would pick up again, though.

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The Lonely Hearts Club (The Lonely Hearts Club #1) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 7-8. 3.5 Stars.

Last year I discovered Elizabeth Eulberg and have really enjoyed several of her books. I find her writing pretty addictive. There’s lots of character development and plenty of cute moments. I did have some issues with this book, though. Penny really frustrated me sometimes. Whenever she “stood up for herself” it included tearing someone else down. She said a lot of really rude, unnecessary things to people and it was almost always praised by those around her. I also thought she and all her friends were really shallow about 95% of the time. That said, I did still like Penny at the end of the day and am going to go on to read the next book.

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We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg. Read March 9-10. 3 Stars. 

A quick, addicting read, even though it didn’t feel like a lot actually happened. I felt like all the drama Penny dealt with she brought upon herself and it wasn’t really necessary. I liked the cute moments between her and Ryan, though. I’m glad I finally got to this series, but I don’t think it’s one I’ll want to read again.

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Stillhouse Lake (Stillhouse Lake #1) by Rachel Caine. Read March 11-12. 3 Stars. 

I think this fell victim to being over-hyped. I had such high expectations for it and it did not come close to meeting them. It was sloooooow, the chapters were long (and we all know how much I hate that), and I felt about zero suspense until about the last quarter or so of the book. I guessed who the bad guy was very early on. However, the writing wasn’t that bad, if a little too repetitive and I did enjoy that last quarter of the book. I’ll still check out the sequel since I’m trying out Kindle Unlimited right now.

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From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata. Read March 17-18. 4 Stars. 

Just before this book I read Dear Aaron and I thought nothing could melt my cold heart like that did. I was wrong. I absolutely adored the relationship in this. It started out rough and Jasmine was VERY hard to like, but as it went on and their friendship grew and Ivan was So. Freaking. Sweet., I just fell in love with it. That’s not to say it was a perfect book because I did have a few issues with it, but I don’t even really care enough about the faults to write about them. The one thing I’ll say is that I wish we got to see more of Ruby and Aaron in this one, but I did like the little bit we got.

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Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. Reach March 18-22. 1 Star.

I’m going to preface this by saying I really should have just DNF-ed this book and moved on with my life. I feel like this type of book is for a very specific audience and I am not at all that audience. I do not really like the Alpha-Male-You-Belong-To-Me-I’ll-Kill-Anyone-Who-Looks-At-You thing. I didn’t really find the relationship between Dex and Iris romantic. I felt like most of the big “romantic” moments were #MeToo movement scenarios. I just couldn’t get behind it. No means no, not “keep going until I finally give in”.

I also just didn’t find the story that interesting. The conclusion to the situation with Iris’ father was really anti-climatic. I think this book just goes to show that liking one book by an author does not mean you will like all books by him/her.

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Wish You Were Mine by Tara Sivec. Read March 27-29. 3.5 Stars

I loved the way this started out with the past and present timelines and the dual 1st person POVs. I felt like when the past timeline ended, though, it went a little bit downhill for me. I felt like the main characters just kept repeating themselves over and over. The main issue in the story is based on a miscommunication, as well, which always kind of bugs me. I also didn’t love Cameron and her short temper all the time. However, there were lots of good moments in the book and I did like Everett and his brother, Jason (wish we would’ve seen a little more of him, though). I would probably recommend this one to Romance fans.

********Re-Reads********

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Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I loved this book just as much the second time around. Once again, I read it in a day. I just adore pretty much everything about this.

********Removed from the TBR********

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Meet Cute by various authors. I got this from the library, but I only ended up reading one story out of it. Most of the reviews I read said the JLA story was the best and I, unfortunately, was not really impressed by it so I decided not to read anymore.

********Back on the TBR********

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Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney. I made it about 17% through this and just couldn’t get into it. I don’t see me finishing it before it’s due back at the library.

Review: The Twenty-Three (Promise Falls Trilogy #3) by Linwood Barclay

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

From New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay comes the third jaw-dropping thriller set in Promise Falls.
 
Everything has been leading to this.

It’s the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms—and dozens have died. Investigators quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town?

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is faced with another problem. A college student has been murdered, and he’s seen the killer’s handiwork before—in the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. Suddenly, all the strange things that have happened in the last month start to add up…

Bloody mannequins found in car “23” of an abandoned Ferris wheel…a fiery, out-of-control bus with “23” on the back, that same number on the hoodie of a man accused of assault…

The motive for harming the people of Promise Falls points to the number 23—and working out why will bring Duckworth closer to death than he’s ever been before…

The Twenty-Three will be available November 1, 2016

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

The Twenty-Three is the conclusion to the Promise Falls series and I think Barclay definitely saved the best for last.

The book starts out setting the stage of a town catastrophe. A contamination in the water supply sends hundreds of people to the hospital. To make matters worse, the contamination appears to be deliberate. Barclay did such a great job setting up the atmosphere. I could really feel the panic and fear that such an event would cause. He also sets a steady pace for the rest of the novel. Shifting through several different perspectives (focusing mostly on Detective Barry Duckworth, Private Investigator Cal Weaver, and former investigative reporter David Harwood) kept the suspense high and there were just enough twists and surprises to keep me guessing right up until the very end.

In addition to the water supply mystery, Duckworth is still working on the cases of a serial killer and the odd incidents relating to the number twenty-three that have been playing out through the past couple books. I loved that we finally got to find out what twenty-three was relating to and how all the mysteries throughout the series connected.

My only real problem with this book came at the conclusion. While almost everything wrapped up nicely, I felt David’s storyline was a little open-ended. I would have liked to get one last POV of him and also from Cal. I also would have loved an epilogue. I have a feeling, though, that we haven’t seen the last of these characters and that is just fine by me.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Twenty-Three. I loved how all the mysteries came to a head and were resolved, with just enough twists thrown in to keep me on my toes. The writing, as always, was wonderful and suspenseful. I really had a hard time putting this one down and the few times I had to, I was still thinking about it. I definitely recommend this series to fans of mystery/suspense.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

Reviewing the Unreviewed: September 2016

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. I thought I’d start doing a post once a month  with just the couple thoughts I shared on Good Reads.

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Kill Shot (Mitch Rapp #2) by Vince Flynn. Read August 26-31 (Yes this was last month, but it was too late for my August post) 4 Stars.

While I liked the first book in this series, I enjoyed this one a lot more. There was loads more character development and the storyline was really intriguing. I found the large cast of supporting characters a little hard to keep straight at times, but that was really my only complaint. I’m looking forward to continuing the series.

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Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn. Read September 1-3. 4 Stars.

What a weird, clever little book! Wishes and moonshine, murder and romance. The main character, Lennie, was a kind of unlikable most of the time, but I still rooted for her throughout the whole book. I liked her uncles and her friend Larry and the evolution of her relationship with Smith. I thought the end was really cleverly written.

I’ve read this author’s previous books and really didn’t like one and really liked the other, so this book was the tie-breaker that has made me decide I like this author’s work.

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Broken Prince (The Royals #2) by Erin Watt. Read September 3-4. 3 Stars.

It took me a little longer to get into this book than it did the first one. Not a lot happened until it got towards the end of the book and then it was mostly just setting up the third book. But I am quite interested in reading the third book now, so I guess that worked.

Getting Reed’s POV was kind of letdown. I thought he was an interesting character in Paper Princess, but every time we get his POV he’s basically just whiny and pining. I actually enjoyed his character much more from Ella’s POV, so I’m glad this book shared POV with her.

I’ve had about a billion problems with Callum since the first book, but he finally redeemed himself (partly anyways) for me in this book. He’s not as clueless or as big of a jerk as I thought he was, so that made me happy.

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Chance of a Lifetime (Anderson Brothers #3) by Marissa Clarke. Read September 4-5. 2 Stars.

I liked seeing a blind lead character. I thought the story did a good job of showing that someone with a disability can be independent and capable. I wished the character had been a little more likable, though. I did like Chance, though. The bucket list plot didn’t take up very much of the story like I thought it would. There was a ton more graphic sexual content than I was expecting, as well. I would’ve enjoyed some more character development or actual plot in place of at least a couple of those scenes, but I guess that’s the genre. Overall, just an ok book for me, though may be worth the read if you’re a fan of romance novels and looking for more diverse characters.

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The Deal (Off-Campus #1) by Elle Kennedy. Read September 5-7. 3 Stars.

I’ve seen people rave about this series and I decided to finally give it a try, even though New Adult is not really my genre. I was pretty surprised that I actually ended up liking this. The story is super familiar (and a little overdone) and there wasn’t anything really surprising in it, but the character development was well done and both the main characters were likable. There was some good bantering, as well. Being New Adult, of course there were the requisite graphic scenes, but I was actually kind of surprised that it didn’t take up half the book. There was actually more story than sex scenes, so kudos to Kennedy for that (especially since I’m pretty sure she writes full-on erotica with her other books). It did go on a little too long, but overall I enjoyed it – especially the development of Garret and Hannah’s relationship – and will read the next book in the series.

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The Mistake (Off-Campus #2) by Elle Kennedy. Read September 7-9. 2.5 Stars.

The extra half star for all the scenes between Logan and his roommates because those were often pretty comical. This book could have used a lot more of that. I didn’t like this book as much as the last one, but it did have a few cute moments. It was definitely more the type of NA book I’m used to (and try to avoid), so I was a little disappointed. Might still try the next book, though.

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The Twenty-Three (Promise Falls #3) by Linwood Barclay. Read September 11-13. 4 Stars.

I really enjoyed The Twenty-Three. I loved how all the mysteries came to a head and were resolved, with just enough twists thrown in to keep me on my toes. The writing, as always, was wonderful and suspenseful. I really had a hard time putting this one down and the few times I had to, I was still thinking about it. I definitely recommend this series to fans of mystery/suspense. Full review to come closer to release date.

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The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. Read September 7-24. 3 Stars.

I feel kind of bad for saying I didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I would because it wasn’t as funny as I was expecting. Schumer really lays a lot of her life out there and a lot of it is really heavy stuff. I wasn’t expecting how serious so much of this book was, but I appreciate her willingness to go there and also the positive reinforcement to women to accept themselves and not settle for things like the abusive relationships she lived through. There were several funny and light-hearted moments, just not as many as I would have liked.

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DNF

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. Could not get into this at all. I tried to keep going, but finally decided to DNF when it started mocking religion. If the writing and the story had been interesting enough I could look past that, but since I wasn’t impressed up to that point, it was the last nail in the coffin.

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RE-READS

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Fiancé by Fate by Jennifer Shirk. I was just in the mood for something cute and I read the sequel to this book last month which made me want to read this one again.

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Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Had to re-read it to prepare for Crooked Kingdom. I love it just as much every time I read it.

The GoodReads Book Tag

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I recently saw this tag over on Rattle the Stars and thought it looked like a fun one.

What was the last book you marked as ‘read’?

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Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein. I had some issues with it, but overall it was really cute.

What are you currently reading?

Nothing. I just finished Shuffle, Repeat, and haven’t started a new one yet. I guess I still have Blitzing Emily by Julie Brannagh marked as “currently reading”, but I started it like two books ago and I don’t think I’m going to finish it anytime soon.

What was the last book you marked as ‘TBR’?

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Chance of a Lifetime by Marissa Clarke. I generally don’t reach for books with this type of cover on it, but I am interested in it because one of the main characters is blind. I love seeing books that can break stigmas on disabilities.

What book do you plan to read next?

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My hold from the library finally came in for Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, so it might be what’s next. I’m not really sure if I’m in the mood to jump back into the Shadowhunter word, though.

Do you use the star rating system?

Of course

Are you doing a Reading Challenge?

Yes. I actually met my goal of 75 books with the last book I read. I’m debating between increasing it or just feeling accomplished.

Do you have a wishlist?

I have a TBR.

What book do you plan to buy next?

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I am thinking about either P.S. I Like You by Kasie West or Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Do you have any favorite quotes, would you like to share a few?

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I am actually really horrible at remembering quotes. I bookmark and highlight all these lines when I read, but they rarely stick with me. There is one, though, that I love from Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I have no idea why this is the one that stands out when there are soooo many good lines from that series.

…It isn’t their concern. And it shouldn’t be mine. Apparently my head is going to roll. I ask them what they will swing. “I have all the axes.”

Who are your favorite authors?

  • Rainbow Rowell
  • Pierce Brown
  • Linwood Barclay
  • Kasie West
  • Linda Castillo
  • Karin Slaughter
  • Allison Leotta
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Liane Moriarty
  • Jojo Moyes
  • just to name a few…

Have you joined any groups?

I’ve joined one book club group, but I haven’t actually been interested enough in any of the books they were reading to actually participate in it yet.

What do you think that Goodreads could do better?

Obviously the 1/2 star thing. I use a 1/2 star rating a lot on my blog and when I transfer that rating to Good Reads, I always round down (i.e. 3.5 Stars on blog = 3 Stars on Good Reads). I think my average rating would be higher if we had half stars.

I also would like to see Nook Book/Epub versions to choose from. I know that Good Reads is owned by Amazon now, so that’s probably not going to happen. But the number of pages in a Nook Book varies SO MUCH from the hard copy – and even from the Kindle. So when I’m updating my status, I have to use the percentage instead of page number to get an accurate picture – and since my particular Nook doesn’t tell me percentage, I have to calculate it.

Tagging:

Feel free to tag yourself if you would like.

We should be Good Reads friends! Come friend me!