February 26, 2013

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink: A Snapshot

Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm

"Libby Kelting had always felt herself born out of time. No wonder the historical romance-reading, Jane Austen-adaptation-watching, all-around history nerd jumped at the chance to intern at Camden Harbor, Maine’s Oldest Living History Museum. But at Camden Harbor Libby’s just plain out of place, no matter how cute she looks in a corset. Her cat-loving coworker wants her dead, the too-smart-for-his-own-good local reporter keeps pushing her buttons, her gorgeous sailor may be more shipwreck than dreamboat — plus Camden Harbor’s haunted. Over the course of one unforgettable summer, Libby learns that boys, like ghosts, aren’t always what they seem." (from Goodreads)
The subject:
a girl gets a job working at a historical museum re-enactment, and finds out that history is a breeze compared to the real-life problems of roommates, boys, and ghost sightings. The heroine (if you can call her that) Libby is a seeming contradiction in terms, a girl who likes fashion and makeup and "girly" things, but also is genuinely interested in history and enjoys reading. I appreciated that the author didn't turn her into either the shallow, self-absorbed fashion plate cliche, or the bookish history geek one, but instead bridged the two in a single character. (And points to Libby for favouring Mr. Tilney over Mr. Darcy! Poor Mr. Tilney is very underappreciated.)

The setting: Camden Harbour, Maine. 

Shutter speed: very readable. It's a quick read, really easy to get through.

What's in the background? A whole lot of brand name–dropping that I could have done without. Fashion references tend to go right over my head. 

Zoom in on: the kids that Libby teaches. Seriously, why are they all so well-behaved? They should be involved in countless escapades! Also, Suze. I have the feeling I would have been able to relate better to her than to Libby, but I never really got the chance because we see so little of her.

And I would have loved for Ashling to appear in more scenes, because she really livened things up with her fantastically annoying character. She was one of those arch-nemeses that you love to hate. She's extremely devoted to historical accuracy, and assertive to the point of rudeness. But still, I got the feeling that underneath all her pretension she'd be someone you could get along with if she'd just get over herself. 

Anything out of focus?
Um, yes. So much. This book is a collection of well-trodden stereotypes. Dev, while a distinctive character with a lot of energy who pretty much jumps off the page, also happens to comprise practically every stereotype about gay guys you've ever heard. Cam never breaks out of the mold of charming player, and Garrett is quite comfortable in the role of geeky-guy-with-a-sweet-heart. 

And then there is Libby's complete lack of intelligence when it comes to guys. It is so obvious to the reader who is the "good" guy and who is the "bad" one, but it takes her so long to figure it out. She's smart about other things — great with the kids, knows her history — but she is incredibly dense about this. I was able to forgive her at first for being swept off her feet by "romance", but then it just gets ridiculous. She completely buries her head in the sand and ignores the facts staring her in the face, which I really could not respect. 

Plus, the storyline relating to the mystery of the ghost spottings ends up feeling quite contrived, and the resolution of almost every conflict here turns out rather anticlimactically.

Ready? Say...
Predictable. (If I could sum this book up in one word, that would be it.)

Click! 3 shooting stars. If you are looking for a light, cutesy read that you can page through in a few hours, knowing exactly how things will play out, this might be just the book for you. But if you are looking for a book that offers anything of substance — or frankly, even anything new to the contemporary YA genre — Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink is pretty much guaranteed to disappoint. That said, reading it was enjoyable enough in the moment, particularly as I do like watching a 'hate at first sight' sort of romance unfold.

Note: while the voice of this book feels geared toward younger readers, there is some mature language and references, so I'd say this is probably a mid-teen sort of read.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from the publisher.

February 20, 2013

The Storyteller: A Close-Up Review (Adult/New Adult)

"Sage Singer, who befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone favorite retired teacher and Little League coach and they strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who's committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren't the party who was wronged? And most of all - if Sage even considers his request - is it murder, or justice?
" (from Goodreads) 
The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult


I actually really disliked Sage in the first part of this book. I'm not sure if this is intentional on the author's part, or if we were supposed to find her character sympathetic, but whatever the case, the result was that I just could not make myself like her. She seemed to me to be very self-effacing, in an artificial 'woe is me' kind of way, from how she felt about her scarred face (which she was really hung up on) to the reasons behind her sleeping with a married man. This latter decision of hers probably lost her the most respect with me, because I can forgive a character a fair number of things, but adultery is something I find it very difficult to get on board with. She knew full well that this guy was married, and yet she carried on this affair with him anyway. I'm sorry, but ugh.

To be fair, Sage does improve in the last third of the book, taking some initiative to make changes in her life, gaining more self-confidence, and earning back some of my respect. Her character development is due in part to what she absorbs from the story her grandmother tells her, as it helps Sage put everything into perspective, but also to the fact that she begins a relationship with another (thankfully, unmarried!) guy. This underlying message of 'you can feel good about yourself once you've got a guy's approval' didn't sit that well with me, though.

Also, I would like to note that although Sage is 25, to me her voice sounded too mature for her age — more like someone in her thirties. Technically since she is in her twenties I'm counting this one as qualifying for the "New Adult" challenge, but I don't think it captures the voice of a 25-year-old very realistically.

Minka: Sage's grandmother, on the other hand, is so much easier to like. Her story, told in Part 2, was probably my favourite section of the book (ironically, since it's the part that deals with all of the atrocities of the Holocaust). Minka is a relatable character you have to feel sorry for, and yet she demonstrates her strength and perseverance time and again.

Josef: I can't really discuss him without spoilers. Suffice it to say that the glimpses we're given indicate that he's a very interesting, complex character, and I wish we'd been able to see more of his perspective.


I suspect one of the author's objectives in writing The Storyteller was to cast light on some of the shades of grey involved in the events and people of the Holocaust. Whether she actually succeeds in this, I'm less certain. I wish Picoult had explored the larger system and the elements of social psychology that shaped and exacerbated the behaviour of the Nazis. Instead, she mostly focuses on a few individuals, reducing it to a question of "Can someone be truly good or truly evil, or is everyone just a mix?" Sure, you can have that conversation all day long, but it's still only looking at the topic through one lens. Since I got my degree in psychology, and took a course in applied social psych, I know that social psychology played a critical role in bringing about the atrocities of the Holocaust. I'm sure it was not the only factor, but let's face it: there were a lot of individuals involved in making sure the "Nazi machine" operated smoothly, and they couldn't all have been sadistic psychopaths. I would have appreciated more exploration of the idea — a fundamental tenet of social psychology theory — that rather than behaviour being attributed to "bad apples" (i.e. "evil" individuals) it can be attributed to "bad barrels" (the environment affecting the individuals). (In terms of the Holocaust specifically, personally I'm inclined to think that there were probably a few apples that had already gone bad, but there was definitely something wrong with the barrels, too.)

This is not to say that Picoult paints all the Germans with the same brush. She takes steps to make sure this is not the case, and the German individuals we are presented with fall in a variety of places on the 'moral spectrum', from the lacking-a-conscience Reiner, to the more ambiguous Franz, to the downright helpful Herr Bauer, Herr Fassbinder, and anonymous farmer's wife. Not all of the Jewish characters are "perfect" either, case in point being Sage herself, of course.

I also thought the author brought up an important point about forgiveness — that it helps the person doing the forgiving more than the one who wants/needs it. Nothing I haven't heard before, but it's still a great point to raise in the context of the story. Whether or not forgiveness is possible from someone you did not directly wrong is also introduced as an interesting discussion.

Ania's story, which appears in excerpts throughout, does a great job of highlighting many of the themes that underlie the novel as a whole. Concepts of brotherhood, friendship, duty, honour, compassion, helplessness, guilt, and shame are presented in a folktale fashion.


I found Part 1 to be rather boring, and you already know how I felt about Sage, so initially The Storyteller and I were off to a pretty slow start. I was a little worried I was going to DNF it, frankly, but then I got to Part 2. I didn't realize The Storyteller was going to go into that much detail about a survivor's Holocaust experience, but Minka's story is one of the most compelling aspects of the book — gripping, intense, horrifying, and engrossing. When Part 3 returned to the modern-day characters and plot, I was initially not that thrilled about it, but I was feeling more invested in the story by this point — and then I guessed the twist and had to keep reading to see if I was right. (I so was.)

If you're finding Part 1 to be slow-going and you're fed up with Sage, I definitely recommend you stick it out until Part 2. I'd also suggest taking breaks with this book. It's hardly a surprise, seeing as this book deals with the Holocaust, but Part 2 in particular is bleak, depressing, and densely packed with information. It's certainly not a quick, easy read. I would like to note, though, that Picoult does an excellent job of integrating all of the information into Minka's personal story. While I think Jodi Picoult did her research about the conditions of the concentration camps, what she presents us with is more than just a set of facts. We come to care about Minka as a person.

Partway through Part 3 I started to suspect what the twist was, but I was kept guessing, never totally sure until the revelation actually occurred. I'm glad what I suspected turned out to be the case, because it nicely ties in the story of the two brothers, Reiner and Franz, as well as the tale involving Ania that is interspersed throughout. It also makes this one of those books where a second read-through might be a different kind of experience, now that you know the twist.

I kind of wish there had been more closure with Josef and Minka, but closure is not always possible in real life. I wasn't really sure how to feel about Sage's ultimate decision (spoiler, highlight to read: to help Josef die, but not to forgive him), but it's certainly an interesting choice. The ending seemed a little abrupt to me; I thought more could have been wrapped up, as we don't really know what's going to happen to Sage. Still, it ends a bit unsettlingly (spoiler: on yet another lie!), leaving the reader with some food for thought.

Final verdict: 4 shooting stars. 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC for review from the publisher.

Note: this is an adult book and there is a lot of mature content.

This book counts towards my goal for the "New Adult" challenge.

February 17, 2013

The Book Lode (13)


There are quite a few memes to choose from now for showing the books we've gotten recently, so I thought to be fair I'd link my posts up to a different meme each month. I'm grouping the posts under the name "The Book Lode," and this month I'm linking up to The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Bloggers mentioned:

Nomes at inkcrush

For review:

Linked by Imogen Howson – thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada!



The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely, Lost It by Lisa Shanahan
Split by Swati Avasthi


Somewhere In Time by Richard Matheson
Bride of Pendorric by Victoria Holt
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Indiscretion by Jude Morgan

The Assassin's Curse: A Panoramic Review

"Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.
" (from Goodreads)

The Assassin's Curse by
Cassandra Rose Clarke

My reaction:
I felt kind of mixed about this one. The premise — a curse that more or less binds Ananna and Naji while not new, is a neat way to throw together two completely different people and force them to work with each other. It gives a reason and impetus for an emotional bond to form between them.

For the most part I enjoyed the characters, particularly Naji and Ananna. In fact, I wasn't really into the book for the first few chapters, but once Naji appeared on the scene things definitely improved. I was not a fan of Ananna's voice to start with, but I found myself warming to her as the story progressed. She's so refreshingly blunt and forward, telling it like she sees it. While her language is a little inconsistent — sometimes she sounds fairly educated, other times she's swearing and using slang — there is no question that Ananna is a smart, especially street-smart, heroine. She's very capable and resourceful, and can take care of herself; moreover, she is sometimes needed to take care of Naji, too. At other times, she needs his help, so really it's a matter of the two of them learning to rely on each other. 

Naji is a real mixture of admirable and irritating traits. He's certainly flawed, with his tendency to evasiveness, leaving out important information that might be very useful for Ananna to know, and a slightly controlling streak. But we can see that he does care about her, feeling protective of her beyond the effects of the curse.

The attraction on her side is quite clear, even if she doesn't want to admit it to herself. Indeed, it's so obvious how Ananna feels that it's almost like the author is sharing a joke with the reader about how dense Ananna's being. Naji, in contrast, doesn't appear to have a clue of how Ananna feels — and it's rather ambiguous as to whether he likes her back. Indeed, outwardly he appears to still be pining over Leila — which brings me to THE most annoying character in this book. Oh my, did I ever dislike her. She's one of those individuals who grates on your nerves and makes you grind your teeth...sort of like nails on a chalkboard. And she pretends that she's nice, which somehow just makes her even more awful. 

Best aspect: the tentative trust developing between Naji and Ananna, and the general premise of the curse. Really, their two characters are the highlight of the story. I thought the relationship thread was handled quite well, and was an interesting tack to take with a YA novel. There is certainly no danger of an "insta-love" romance here!
If I could change something... I would not leave the story feeling half-finished, as it does at the end of this first book. I understand there will be a sequel, but The Assassin's Curse ends up feeling almost like a prelude to the next installment of the story. It lacks the complete internal story arc that I look for in each book within a series. There were spaces for several chapters where there was a lull plot-wise, with not much going on (for example, when they're on the island doing all the survival things...sorry, Hatchet lovers, but it just doesn't quite cut it for me). Since the way to break this "impossible" curse isn't introduced until the end, these sections seem like filler being used to stretch the book out — and let's face it, it's not very long anyway. The problems posed by the curse, while consistent, become a little repetitive; it feels like we're always banging up against the same wall. While I haven't read the sequel, I suspect that the first two books could probably have been compressed into a single one, with some of the non-essential portions being taken out and the repetition lessened.
I'd also either flesh out the storyline involving the arranged marriage to Tarrin, or ditch it entirely and come up with another, more compelling, subplot. This one, as it's presented here, didn't really work for me. It just seemed thrown in at the beginning to give Ananna a reason to run away and start her adventures, and then again in the middle because it needed to get resolved.

If you haven't read it: and you enjoy YA traditional fantasy, I'd definitely suggest checking it out. But you might want to wait until you have the second in the series at your fingertips

If you have read it: did you find Leila as irritating as I did???

Just one more thing I want to mention: for the longest time the origins of the curse are not explained, which gave rise to both confusion and frustration on my part. Eventually we are told the story, but I found it annoying to be kept in the dark for most of the book about something that could easily have been cleared up. 

Final verdict:
3.5 shooting stars. I wasn't crazy about it, but I think there's potential here and I'm interested to see what happens in the sequel.

I received an ARC of this book for review from the publisher.

February 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Sorrow's Knot and Levitating Las Vegas

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and features books that we just can't wait to get our hands on!

My WoW picks this week are:

Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

"In the world of Sorrow’s Knot, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry and nearly invisible, something deadly. The dead can only be repelled or destroyed with magically knotted cords and yarns. The women who tie these knots are called binders.

Otter is the daughter of Willow, a binder of great power. She’s a proud and privileged girl who takes it for granted that she will be a binder some day herself. But when Willow’s power begins to turn inward and tear her apart, Otter finds herself trapped with a responsibility she’s not ready for, and a power she no longer wants."

Love the way that the premises of Erin Bow's books play with how magic is presented and used – first in Plain Kate, and now here. This one sounds like it could be pretty dark, and I'm interested to see how Otter's inner struggle is portrayed. Plus, that cover!

Levitating Las Vegas by Jennifer Echols

"Nothing up her sleeves...or so she’s been led to believe.

Showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—that he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her straight to the source, a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all...and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief...and falling in love is murder."

I'm pretty sure this is the New Adult book that Jennifer Echols referred to in my interview with her last year! Very cool that she is now getting it published. It sounds totally different from most of Echols' work, which is usually straight-up contemp YA. This one, by contrast, is New Adult, but with the paranormal element and the magician angle, it stands out amongst the many romance-only NA reads we've been seeing these days. 

What books are you waiting for? 

February 10, 2013

The Book Lode (12)


There are quite a few memes to choose from now for showing the books we've gotten recently, so I thought to be fair I'd link my posts up to a different meme each month. I'm grouping the posts under the name "The Book Lode," and this month I'm linking up to The Sunday Post, hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

For review:

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger – thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada!


The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen – thanks to my parents!


Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan
Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins


February 5, 2013

U-Pick: Character Most In Love With Him/Herself?

Here's how this feature works: each week I'll post a categorical superlative (e.g. "most sadistic villain" "crankiest father figure" "protagonist you would most like to slap some sense into" etc.) and list a few choices of characters from YA books in a poll. You get to pick! The poll will run for a week, and then in the following post I'll update with the name of the winning character. 

That's right, it's time to bring back the U-Pick feature! The last one was for the Most Endearing Animal Sidekick in YA, and it is probably no surprise that the winner was...

...Hedwig from Harry Potter!

This time around, the question is: which YA character is Most In Love With Him/Herself?

There are lots of choices here, so vote below! (If the book is part of a series, I've just listed the series name. You can decide which book you want to base your vote on.) There's also an option for a write-in vote if your pick isn't listed. If that's the case, please choose "other" and then leave the character's name and book title in the comments :)

February 1, 2013

The Hallowed Ones: A Panoramic Review

"Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community? The suspense of this vividly told, truly horrific thriller will keep the pages turning." (from Goodreads)
The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

*Note: there are general spoilers about a certain element of this book's premise. If you want to be remain completely in the dark about The Hallowed Ones, do not read any further!

My reaction: I found the first half to be quite slow-moving, so I ended up reading this one on and off for about a week. It was definitely a bit of a push sometimes, but eventually about three-quarters of the way through I was pretty gripped by it.  

For those of you who don't like violence/horror, a warning right off the bat: there is definitely a horror aspect to this book. I can't really talk about The Hallowed Ones without mentioning the vampires, so I hope that isn't considered a massive spoiler. Certain scenes were really, really gruesome — as in blood, guts, and severed body parts. It wasn't pretty, particularly as I am one of those readers who doesn't usually like gross, gory stuff. I fully admit I am squeamish.
I actually thought these graphic depictions were a little over-the-top, especially in a particular scene (spoilers, highlight to read: when they discover all the dead bodies in the house). It just seemed like they were being used for shock value or dramatic effect. Plus, it doesn't exactly make sense given the nature of the threat (spoilers: I'm not really sure why the vampires go to such lengths to mutilate the bodies. You'd think they'd be draining them dry, not spilling their blood all over the place...)

I really liked seeing Katie grow in this book, and throw off the complacency she has at the beginning. Right from the start she claims that she always questions things, and frankly I found it annoying that she was constantly telling the reader that, like it was being thrust on us: "root for this girl because she doesn't always obey the rules!" But I enjoyed actually watching her follow these claims up with actions, as she starts to take charge of her life and step out of the boundaries. As the story progresses she becomes more extreme about it; at the beginning she makes small transgressions and questions things a little, but she really ups her assertiveness and defiance of the Elders towards the end. I think Alex helps to bring that out in her. And while it's sort of dangerous in one way, I think it's more dangerous for her to sit around on her hands and not do anything, because there are vampires wreaking havoc and no one else (except Alex and the Hexenmeister) is paying attention!

I didn't see the twist of the vampires' identities coming at all, but it definitely made sense. However, I thought the "climactic" sense wasn't all that climactic, having been overshadowed by what happened earlier (spoiler: again, the macabre scene of horrors at the house). It wasn't particularly scary and the vanquishing of evil was accomplished rather easily. It just seemed a little too perfect that almost everyone got to pitch in somehow. I also thought the story needed more denouement — it ends suddenly just pages after the climactic-scene-that-wasn't-really. Spoiler: she's leaving and we don't even get to see how her family feels about that?

Best aspect: the relationship that develops between Alex and Katie. There's a definite spark and attraction that gives a slightly sexy element to their romance. He becomes quite protective of her and I thought his nickname for her was adorable. I much preferred Alex to Elijah as a boyfriend for Katie...well, and just generally as a character, too. I was okay with Elijah at the beginning, but he became infuriating later on as he turned more and more conservative and controlling. Alex isn't perfect either, but I understood and respected his values a lot more because he hadn't been raised in such a closed-minded way. 
If I could change something... I'd demonstrate more clearly the "rules" of the paranormal side of things — like how the vampires operate, how the sickness spreads, how the medical connects to the spiritual... Sometimes I was fine with the presence of the vampires in the story, but other times it just seemed incongruous/out of context for the Amish community setting and the social issues being discussed. It's a bit of a weird mix.

I also thought the writing style could be improved somewhat, by varying the sentence structure and quickening the pacing. There are some scenes where there's a lot of either ruminating — Katie can ruminate with the best of them on everything from philosophical and religious issues to more personal struggles — or info dumps. The latter are usually put into the guise of conversations, but basically they're just pages and pages of new information related to the world-building. Katie explains things about Amish culture periodically, and it comes off a little obvious, like the author is trying to jam in a bunch of facts. I also struggled a bit with the narration style — despite the fact that it's first-person POV, Katie has a rather distant way of narrating, and sometimes it feels like she is describing herself in third-person.

If you haven't read it: and you enjoy (or at the very least, don't mind) icky, gory scenes, and you're interested in seeing Amish culture and vampirism collide, this book is probably right up your alley. If you're looking for tons of fast-paced action, though, you'll probably be disappointed.

If you have read it: are you looking forward to book two? What are your predictions? I'm a little wary about the potential for a series; certainly we could use some more explanations about the vampires, but there's a danger of repetitive plot points. I suspect that after a while, one vampire attack could start to seem very much like any other.

Just one more thing I want to mention: in certain scenes the writing was quite evocative and atmospheric, giving off the necessary creepy vibe. Case in point: what happens when Katie relentlessly pursues her desire to get a Coke. I totally had the "this is a bad idea, Katie, don't do it" feeling, but of course, she does anyway...

Final verdict: 3.5 shooting stars.
The Hallowed Ones was not really my usual style, and while I liked some aspects of it, others I had issues with. Personally, there was a little too much gore for me, but I did enjoy some of the characterization and I am left wondering what happens next...so I'm sort of torn about whether or not to continue with the series.

Note: there is a significant amount of violent and gruesome content, so I would definitely not recommend this one for younger readers.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

January "New Adult" Challenge Reviews — Link Them Up Here!

Participants in the "New Adult" reading challenge: if you have reviews from January, here's your chance to link them up! I hope your month of reading was more productive than mine...*crosses fingers that February will be better*

If you have not yet signed up for the NA Challenge but want to participate, never fear: you can still sign up here! :)

Also, one of my co-hosts, Barbara at Basia's Bookshelf, is having a monthly giveaway for the challenge, so once you've linked up your review(s), be sure to pop over there and enter!

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