VIRTUAL Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2020 discussion

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Stormness Head (60 books) > Lynn's level 60 2020 climb!

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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments This is going to be library books for me and I need to read to take them back!


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post is on The Arrangement by Mary Balogh. It is 366 pages long and is published by Delacorte Press. The cover has the main character Vincent on it looking handsome. It is the second her The Survivor’s Club series but you do not have to have read the first one volume to understand the story. There is mild foul language, sex, and no violence in this novel. The story is told from third person close of the main characters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- Desperate to escape his mother’s match-making, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage. Reluctant at first, Sophia agrees to Vincent’s proposal. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement?

Review- A cute story about to kind characters making a life together and being happy. I enjoyed the simplicity of this novel with likable characters making the best of their lives. Vincent is trying to retake control of his life and Sophia needs someone to give a chance to have a life at all. Sophia is not going to let her unscrupulous family members trick Vincent into marrying her cousin and Vincent is not going to let a young woman be tossed into the gutter. So they make a choice to have an arranged marriage between the two of them. Of course people wonder about it and them but Sophia and Vincent make themselves known and they make it work. There are no big misunderstandings, no big fights, just two reasonable people who want to have lives of their own. A very enjoyable read.


I give this novel a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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You've got your first step in. Good luck with your climb!


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post is on Miniature: How Small Things Illuminated the World by Simon Garfield. It is 323 pages long and is published by Atria Books. The cover has the Eiffel Tower on it in a match book. The intended reader is someone who is interested in unusual history. There is no foul language, no sex, and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket - A delightful, entertaining, and illuminating investigation into out peculiar fascination with making things small and what small things tell us about the world at large.
Ting Eiffel Towers, Platoons of brave toy soldiers. A doll’s house created for a queen. Miniature crime scenes meant to catch killers. Flea circuses. Model villages and railways. And much more.
Bringing together history, psychology, art, and obsession, Simon Garfield explores what fuels the strong appeal of miniature objects among collectors, modelers, and everyday people. The toys we enjoy as children invest us with a rare power at a young age, bestowing a taste of adult-size authority. For some, the desire to play with small things becomes a desire to make small things. Controlling a tiny, scaled-down world can give us new perspectives and restore our sense of order uncertain times.
In Miniature takes a bog look at small things and teaches us to find greatness in the diminutive.

Review – Another unusual topic for Garfield and another delightful read. Garfield starts with the full sized Eiffel Tower and the first people to miniaturize it. Over the course of the book, Garfield introduces the reader to all kinds of people who miniaturize the world; from artist to make a point to a village to remember the past. The writing is top-notch as to be expected of Garfield. The research is good but the interviews with the people who spend their lives making things small are the best parts of the story. Garfield gets access to the people and then brings them to the reader in wonderful ways. Learning the history of miniaturization was interesting and Garfield makes it fun with little jokes and side notes about the different topics. If you are a fan of Garfield or curious about the history of miniatures then you should check this book out.


I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s Nonfiction post is on The Forest City Killer: A Serial Murderer, a Cold-Case Sleuth, and a Search for Justice by Vanessa Brown. It is 360 pages long and is published by ECW Press. The cover is an old black and white photograph of a search team looking for Jackie English. The intended reader is someone who enjoys true crime. There is mild foul language, sex and sexuality, and violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the eblurb - Dig deep into the unsolved murder of Jackie English and join the hunt for a serial killer
Fifty years ago, a serial killer prowled the quiet city of London, Ontario, marking it as his hunting grounds. As young women and boys were abducted, raped, and murdered, residents of the area held their loved ones closer and closer, terrified of the monster -- or monsters -- stalking the streets. Homicide detective Dennis Alsop began hunting the killer in the 1960s, and he didn't stop searching until his death 30 years later. For decades, detectives, actual and armchair, and the victims' families and friends continued to ask questions: Who was the Forest City Killer? Was there more than one person? Or did a depraved individual commit all of these crimes on his own?
Combing through the files Detective Alsop left behind, researcher Vanessa Brown reopens the cases, revealing previously unpublished witness statements, details of evidence, and astonishing revelations about how this serial killer got away. And through her investigation, Vanessa discovers the unthinkable: like the notorious Golden State Killer, the Forest City Killer is still alive . . . and a simple DNA test could bring him to justice.

Review – An interesting book about an uncaught killer who has a high body count. Brown has lived in London, Ontario for years without ever knowing about the murders that happened in the 60s. She was told about the dark past in the city and became obsessed with it and with the murder of Jackie English in particular. The book is the result of four years of research, interviews, and digging into everything about the murders. Brown used more than just traditional resources like police reports and in person interviews; she also used the internet like Unsolved Canada website about the unsolved crimes that have happened all over the country. While I do not agree with all of Brown’s conclusions, I do think that she has done great research and is bringing these cases to the public with great insight and compassion for the both the victims and their families.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library’s Hoopla account.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post on The Show Won’t Go On: The Most Shocking Bizarre, and Historic Deaths of Performers Onstage by Jeff Abraham and Burt Kearns. It is 232 pages long including notes and is published by Chicago Review Press. The cover is a stage with a grim reaper in the center. There is foul language, no sex, and violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book - There has never been a show business book like quite like The Show Won’t Go On, the first comprehensive study of a bizarre phenomenon: performs who died onstage. The Show Won’t Go On covers almost every genre of entertainment, and is full of unearthed anecdotes, exclusive interviews, colorful characters, and ironic twists. With dozens of heart- stopping stories, it’s the perfect book to dip into on any page.

Review – We get all kinds stories in this book from accidents and heart attacks to suicide and murder. Abraham and Kearns are passionate about these stories giving the reader insight into the person's life before their deaths and then telling the stories of their tragic demise. While the stories are full of interesting details, it never gets too graphic, as the stories themselves are not too long. As the pieces are not very lengthy the narratives did not get in depth and we get lost in the details. All the performing arts are covered in this book from theater to radio and TV. Some of the stories are tongue in cheek, the authors never mock the person themselves or what happened to them, just pointing out at the oddities around their deaths. I had fun reading this book and I would recommend it.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post is on The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. It is 827 including notes and the like. The cover is orange with a blue dragon twisting around a tower on one side. The intended reader is someone who likes epic high fantasy, deep plots, and lots of characters. There is mild foul language, mild sex and sexuality, and violence in this novel. The story is told from third person close of the main characters, moving as needed within chapters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- A World Divided. A Queendom Without An Heir. An Ancient Enemy Awakens.
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction- but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages, Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tane has trained all her life to be a dragonrider but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Review- This is one of the best fantasy novels I have read in a long time, if not one of the best I have ever read at all. It has everything that should be in an epic fantasy: magic, dragons, action, interesting characters, deep plot without getting too bogged down in the details, true love, it has it all. The plot is broken up by parts of the world when in the west the reader is with Sabran and her court, in the east with Tane and Niclays, has the reader moves the chapter heading will tell them where they are and they will know who the characters are going to be. This world is so richly imagined, the characters are interesting and easy to understand, the plot is so intense and interesting; I hardly know where to start with my praise. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who like epic fantasy, do not be put off by the length because this story is well worth it.


I give this novel a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this novel from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s Nonfiction post is on We Are All Shipwrecks: A Memoir by Kelly Grey Carlisle. It is 368 pages long and is published by Sourcebooks. The cover has a young girl and a small dog on a leash. The intended reader is someone interested in memoirs. There is foul language, sex, and talk of violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the eblurb- Sometimes family are the strangers who love you.
When Kelly was three weeks old, her mother lay her in a dresser drawer in a motel room in Hollywood and went out into the night. She never returned. Her strangled body was found the next morning on a hillside in LA. Raised by her eccentric grandfather on a boat in LA Harbor, Kelly couldn't help wondering how her life might have been different if her mother had lived. Every day at their rundown marina was an adventure, sometimes fun, sometimes dangerous, but always profoundly strange. Kelly longed for a normal life and for answers to her questions: who was her mother, exactly, and who had killed her? Her search for answers--and for a normal life--would lead her back to that night, that motel room, and the mother she never knew.
We Are All Shipwrecks is Kelly's story of redemption from tragedy, told with a tenderness toward her family that makes it as much about preserving the strings that anchor her as it is about breaking free.

Review- At times moving, at times meandering memoir about a life dealing with what is and what could have been. Carlisle starts the book with meeting a man, the detective who worked on her mother’s murder case and she ends it with him. In between we have her childhood being raised by her grandfather and step-grandmother and many kind neighbors. Carlisle is up front about what it means to her being a child of a murder victim and how that affected her life. The writing is fine, not so detailed that the reader gets lost but enough that we understand her and what she is trying to express. Not the strongest memoir I have read but if you like memoirs or survival narratives then I would give this one a look.

I give this book a Three out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my library’s Hoopla account.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on The Toll by Cherie Priest. It is 334 pages long and is published by Tor. The cover has a road that goes into darkness. There is mild foul language, no sex, and no violence in this novel. The intended reader is someone who likes horror, southern Gothic, and just a touch of Cthulhu. The story is told from third person close of the main characters. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the back of the book- State Road 177 runs along the Suwannee River, between Fargo, Georgia, and the Okefenokee Swamp. Drive that route from east or west , and you'll cross six bridges. Take it from west to east, and you might find seven.
But you'd better hope not.
Titus and Melanie Bell are on their honeymoon, and have reservations in the Okeenokee Swamp cabins for a canoeing trip. But shortly before they reach their destination, the road narrows into a rickety bridge with old stone pilings, with room for only one car.
Much later, Titus wakes up lying in the middle of the road, no bridge in sight. Melanie is missing. When he calls the police, they tell there i no such bridge on State Road 177...


Review- This is an excellent horror novel. Priest is a master storyteller and this novel is no different. We have several different plot threads that join into one monster. Titus is looking for his wife, Dave is looking for what happened to him, and everything leads back to the stone bridge that only appears every thirteen years. The mystery of what is going was less interesting to me than what was is the monster in the swamp. Until about half way into the novel I was thinking it was just a ghost story until the monster in the back ground was shown to be real. The writing is great, the plot does take a little while to get going but once it does it si a downhill ride all the way. If you like slow burn horror novels then you should give this one a try.


I give this novel a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on Screenshot by Donna Cooner. It is 295 pages long and is published by Point Books. The cover is a series of snap shots of the main character. The intended reader is young adult, likes drama filled stories, and interesting main character. There is mild foul language, no sex, and no violence in this novel. The story is told in many ways from first person as the main character Skye then chapter breaks with different characters in third person. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the back of the book- Skye's social media game is always on point. Until her best friend, Asha, posts an embarrassing video of Skye at a sleepover. But Asha deleted the post, so everything's okay. Right?
Then someone texts Skye a screenshot from the video. This person threatens to share the shocking photo everywhere... unless Skye does whatever they say. Suddenly, Skye's perfect image- and privacy- are in jeopardy. What will Skye do to keep the screenshot under wraps? And who is trying to ruin her life?


Review- Online bullying is a very serious issue and this book gives the reader a look into that experience. Skye is just goofing off at a sleepover when her friend takes a joke picture and everything goes from there. The person who is bullying her was surprising but their reasoning was terrible. The story itself is very interesting with Skye trying to handle this by herself, the writing is good very engaging, and the world building is good. The character breaks with the other character is how the world is build for the reader, we see the world from other character's perspective away from Skye.


I give this novel a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post is on Bloodborne issue #15: The Veil, Torn Asunder by Aleš Kot, illustrated by Piotr Kowalski and Brad Simpson. It is the 31 pages long and published by Titan Comics. The cover has a hunter walking through Yarnham with crows following them. The intended reader is someone who has read the first two issues of the series. There is mild foul language, no sex, nudity, and mild violence in this comic. The story is told from third person close of the nameless man. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the eblurb on Hoopla- The city of Yharnam: an ancient, gothic metropolis and home to the Healing Church.

The Healing Church is known for its miraculous blood-based curatives, of which many – citizens and travelers alike – seek to exploit.

Recent days have seen the city fall foul to a nightmarish plague known as the Ashen Blood disease, the source of which remains a mystery.

Trapped in a threatening world of gods and monsters, where reality is never what it seems, one man resolves to welcome the madness, and the truth it may reveal…

Review- The plot for this arc is finally coming into focus. The nameless man is some kind of traveler moving from place to place seeing what is happening in Yarnham and those who are doing things like the hunter with the pale blood child or Elieen the crow as she goes through her madness. I think that I know who the man is but I am not sure. This was the best volume of the series so far with more answers than we had been given in the previous issues.

I give this volume a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this comic from my library’s Hoopla account.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post is on American Street by Ibi Zoboi. It is 324 pages long and is published by Balzer + Bray. The cover is white with a silhouette of a girl with flowers and colors in it. The intended reader is a young adult, interested in the immigrant experience, and some magical realism. There is foul language, mild sexuality, and violence in this novel. The story is told from the first person of the main character, Fabiola and in the chapter breaks from other characters to give the story depth. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie- a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabliola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footings in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola must learn that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Review- Equal parts coming of age and the immigrant experience novel, that does succeed in both but I have conflicting thoughts about this novel. It is well written, the characters are fully realized, the magical realism is very good, and the plot moves fast. But I did not really like the book. I cannot put my finger on what I just do not like about it. Fabliola is fine as a main character, she is trying to make the best of a rough situation, she grows over the course of the book, she makes things happen. The magical realism is the best part of the novel in my opinion, I liked whenever Bad Leg would show up and give Fabliola insight or a warning. He was interesting, different from the other characters, and he did more for the plot and character growth of the other characters than anyone else. I am not sure what I wanted from this novel but it was fine, if the combination of magical realism and immigrant experience sounds interesting to you then you should give this novel a try.

I give this novel a Three out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today’s post is on Living with the Gods: On Beliefs and Peoples by Neil MacGregor. It is 488 pages long including notes and is published by Alfred A. Knopf. The cover is gold with a picture of a statue fragment on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in the history of religion. There is no foul language, no sex, and only discussion of violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the dust jacket- One of the central facts of human existence is that every known society shares a set of beliefs and assumptions- a faith, an ideology, a religion- that goes far beyond the life of the individual. These beliefs are an essential part of a shared identity. They have a unique power to define- and to divide- us and are a driving force in the politics of much of the world today. Throughout history they have most often been, in the widest, religious.
Yet this book is a not history of religion not an argument in favor of faith. It is about the stories that give shape to our lives, and the different ways in which societies imagine their place in this world. Looking across history and around the globe, Living with the Gods interrogates objects, places, and human activities to try to understand what shared beliefs can mean in the public life of a community or a nation, how they shape the relationship between the individual and the state, and how they help give us our sense of who we are.
In deciding how we live with our gods, we also decide how to live with one another.

Review- This is a fascinating and thought-provoking look into humans, religion, and how they both have grown over the millennia. MacGregor takes the reader from around 33,000 years ago to the present day with religious artifacts and how we still interact with them. MacGregor, via the British Natural History Museum, travels the world, viewing the cultures and peoples from their religion. Beautiful full color pictures with descriptions of the objects then a deep dive into the object itself with its meaning in its place in time and what it means in the present day. MacGregor interviews experts from the different areas and religions to give insight into the objects and their meanings. If you are curious about religion and how it has changed over the course of human history then you need to read this book. I highly recommend this book.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on Serial Killers by Time Life Books. It is 192 long with notes, bibliography, credits and is published by Time Life Books. The cover is half picture of Ted Bundy and half the killers profiled inside. There is foul language, talk of rape, sex, and sexuality, and violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From amazon- Recounts the cases of Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, Dennis Nilsen, and David Berkowitz, and briefly surveys earlier celebrated killers, including Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler.


Review- This is a general look into four different serial killers. Who they were, when they killed, their victims, and some into how policing changed in their wakes. This is not a book for the faint of heart, the crimes are described, there are pictures of the crimes, and the reader gets an inside look into the minds of these murderers. But if you are a true crime junkie and want to know more about these four killers then you should look at this book. The middle section is a series of vignettes of fourteen other serial killers from the past like the 15th century Gilles de Rais to Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker. If you are looking for a every single fact about any one this these murderers then you need to get a book just about them.

I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I was given this book a gift by a friend.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! Volume 2 by Satoru Yamaguchi, Nami Hidaka (Illustrator), Shirley Yeung (Translator). It is 268 pages long and is published by J-Novel Club. The cover is a beautiful illustration of the three of the main characters. The intended reader is someone who likes fantasy romance novels with some very pretty pictures. There is no foul language, no sex, and no violence in this novel. The story is in first person close of the character moving from chapter to chapter. There Be Spoilers Ahead.



From Kindle blurb- After hitting her head on a rock, Katarina Claes regains the memories of her past life, and realizes that she's been reincarnated into the world the otome game she'd been playing. There's only one problem — she's the villainess of the game, who has only bad endings! From practicing with the sword to crafting fake snakes, Katarina has done her best to prepare for all the possible Catastrophic Bad Ends. Now it's finally time for her to enroll in the Academy of Magic, where the story of the game begins. Unfortunately she only finds more trouble there, starting with meeting the one who may spell her doom — heroine of the game! Join Katarina as she tries to avoid all the bad routes, only to end up getting entangled with them in ways she'd never imagined!



Review- we pick up right where the first volume left off with Katarina starting magic school. But Katarina will overcome with her usual over-the-top antics and optimism! She meets the 'heroine' Maria Campbell, who Katarina proceeds to charm her just like everyone Katarina meets. We have a real villain in this volume for Katarina to overcome and she does so by just being herself. The format is the same in this vole as with the first one with the first half of the chapter being from Katarina's perspective and the second from one of the other characters. The game ends at the end of this novel so I am very excited about where Katarina is going to go now that she is free from the bad ends of the game. I cannot wait to find out.



I give this novel a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I bought this novel with my own money.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on Batwoman, Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death by Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV, Steve Epting, Stephanie Hans, Renato Arlem. It is 168 pages long and is published by DC Comics. The cover is a close-up of Batwoman's face looking intense. There is foul language, sex and sexuality, and violence in this collection. The story is told from third person of Cassandra. There Be Spoilers Ahead.



From the blurb on Amazon- Batwoman returns with her own series in BATWOMAN VOL. 1, as a part of DC Rebirth!

The newest chapter of Batwoman’s life begins here! Monster Venom is the hottest new bioweapon on the market…and to break up the syndicate spreading it around the world, Batwoman’s going to have to return to the place where she spent some of her darkest hours!

With writing from Marguerite Bennett (DC BOMBSHELLS) and James Tynion IV (DETECTIVE COMICS), as well as spectacular art from Steve Epting (CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER) and Ben Oliver (THE MULTIVERSITY), this new series spins directly out of the smash hit DETECTIVE COMICS series!

BATWOMAN VOL. 1 collects issues #1-6 and the one-shot special BATWOMAN: REBIRTH #1.



Review- We get lots of different adventures in this collection. We see Cassandra from before she was Batwoman, when she was looking for herself and what to do with her life. The art is beautiful, the stories are interesting, and the pacing is excellent. This is suppose to be a reboot but I am sure that it really is in parts because it references things that have happened before the comic so I cannot follow everything in the plot as well as someone who has. I did enjoy this collection but I am sure that I will read anymore.



I give this comic collection a Three out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I get this collection as a gift.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on The Lost Gutenberg: The Astounding Story of One Book's Five-Hundred-Year Odyssey by Margaret Leslie Davis. It is 304 pages long and is published by TarcherPerigee. The cover is half picture of some of the people who owned the book and the bottom half is from the bible itself. The intended reader is someone who is interested in printing history, Gutenberg Bibles, and the people who owned them. There is no foul language, no sex and no violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.



From the dust jacket- The never-before-told story of one extremely rare copy of the Gutenberg Bible, and its impact on the lives of the fanatical few who were lucky enough to own it.

For rare-book collectors, an original copy of the Gutenberg Bible--of which there are only 48 in existence--is the undisputed gem of any collection. When Estelle Doheny, the eccentric widow of oil tycoon Edward Dohney, finally obtained an original copy, it was the culmination of a forty-year pursuit. Estelle, the first woman and perhaps the most devout owner of the Bible, would be its last private owner as well. After her death, the unique Bible would go on to enable scientist- using the very machine that isolated plutonium for the atomic bomb- to make the most important advance in understanding the first printed book.

In The Lost Gutenberg, Margaret Leslie Davis richly recounts five centuries in the life of this copy of the Bible from its very creation by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany; to its ownership by the British heir to the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce empire; to its brush with one of the most notorious crimes of the twentieth century, a steel vault in Tokyo. The Lost Gutenberg draws readers into this incredible saga, inviting them into the colorful lives of each of its collectors along the way. Through vivid storytelling and unprecedented access into private records, Davis offers a unique and riveting history for bibliophiles and book lovers alike. Exploring books as objects of desire across centuries, Davis leaves readers not only with a broader understanding of the culture of rare-book collectors, but with a deeper awareness of the importance of books in our world.



Review- This is an interesting account of one book life and the lives of the people who interacted with it. We start towards the end of the story with Estella Doheny getting her Gutenberg. Then we back-step to the creation of the Bible, why it is important in the history of printing, and its other owners. The story is interesting, if at times a little too detailed, the people we meet inside are interesting themselves. The writing is good, the notes are very detailed, and bibliography is excellent so if you wanted to you can track everything down for yourself. If you are interested in printing history or want to know why the Gutenberg Bibles are considered so important then you should read this.



I give this book a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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message 33: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on The Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp, Manuel Preitano (Illustrations). It is 208 pages long and is published by DC Comics. The cover has Barbara on it in her wheel chair. The intended reader is someone who is interested in a new telling of Barbara's story and DC Comics. There is no foul language, no sex, and mild violence in this graphic novel. The story is told from third person close of Barbara. There Be Spoilers Ahead.



From the back of the book- After a gunshot leaves her paralyzed, Barbara Gordon enters the Arkham Center for Independence, where Gotham's teens undergo physical and mental rehabilitation. Now using a wheelchair, Barbara must adapt to a new normal, but she cannot shake the feeling that something is dangerously amiss. Within these walls, strange sounds escape at night; patients go missing; and Barbara begins to put together pieces of what she believes to be a larger puzzle.

But is this suspicion simply a result of her trauma? Fellow patients try to connect with Barbara, but she pushes them away, and she'd rather spend time with ghost stories than participate in her daily exercises. Even Barbara's owan judgment is in question.

In The Oracle Code, universal truths cannot be escaped, and Barbara Gordon must battle the phantoms of her past before they swarm her future.



Review- An excellent reinvention of Barbara Gordon becoming Oracle. Barbara is shot as the very beginning of this story and the rest is really about her coming to terms with what happened and rediscovering herself. When she starts, Barbara does not want to be at Arkham Center for Independence and she does not want to make new friends. But the longer she is there, the more she realizes that something is very wrong. Barbara has to re-find her inner hero to safe the children that are missing and stop the bad guys. We get to see Barbara struggle with her new life, making new friends, and helping her old friends come to terms with her new life too. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, I liked seeing Barbara face the new challenges for her life, and overcome them. I hope that more comics are made following her into her role as Oracle for the Bat-family.



I give this graphic novel a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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message 35: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on Theme Music by T. Marie Vandelly. It is 387 pages long and is published by Dutton. The cover is a picture of house with ivy growing up to a window. The intended reader is someone who likes dark twisty thriller that walk the line of being horror. There is foul language talk of sex and sexuality, and violence in this novel. The story is told from first person close of the main character Dixie. There Be Spoilers Ahead.



From the dust jacket- She didn't run from her dark past. She moved in.

For the lucky among us, life is what you make of it, but for Dixie Wheeler, the theme music for her story was chosen by another long ago, on the day her father butchered her mother and brothers and then slashed a knife across his own throat. Only one-year-old Dixie was left alive, infamously known as Baby Blue for the song left playing in the aftermath of the slaughter.

Twenty-five years later, Dixie is still desperate for a connection to the family she can’t remember, so when her childhood home goes up for sale, Dixie sets aside all reason and moves in, re-creating a macabre decor with her family’s salvaged furniture. But as the ghosts of her family seemingly begin to take up residence in the home that was once theirs, Dixie starts to question her own sanity and wonders if the evil force menacing her is that of her father, or a demon of her own making.

In order to make sense of her present, Dixie becomes determined to unravel the truth of her past and seeks out the detective who originally investigated the murders. But the more she learns, the more she opens up the uncomfortable possibility that the sins of her father may belong to another, and, perhaps most tragically, to Dixie herself. As bodies begin to pile up around her, Dixie must find a way to expose the lunacy behind her family’s massacre in order to save her few loved ones who are still alive- and whatever scrap of sanity she has left.



Review- A twisty, intense, and very surprising horror thriller that had me gasping in shock and surprise more than once. This is one heck of story, that will make you questions how much is real how much is in Dixie's head, and who is the real killer. This is Vandelly's debut novel and I am very impressed. We have everything in this novel: unreliable narrator, horrific murders, ghosts, and a one really bad killer. Dixie is very damaged from what happened when she was a baby and how she was raised and that makes her a great main character. She is always likable but she is compelling and that means more to me than liking her. The real killer was a surprise to me but not the helper, I did guess that one. If you are looking for a very intense, dark thriller-horror story then I highly recommend this novel.



I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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message 37: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on The Secret Serial Killer: The True Story of Kieran Kelly by Robert Mulhern. It is 196 pages long and is published by Pen and Sword True Crime. The cover is a picture of Kieran Kelly. The intended reader is someone who is interested in true crime and unsolved murders. There is mild foul language, discussion of sex, and discussion of violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the dust jacket- Journalist Robert Mulhern has spent three years investigating claims Kieran Kelly, a two-time convicted killer, has in fact murdered amn more people- 31 to be exact. Kelly's claims first emerged in 193 after he killed his cellmate in London's Clapham Police Station, having been arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Under questioning, the labourer from Ireland candidly confessed to strangling the prisoner to dozens of unreported and unsolved murders over the previous 30 years.
Kelly's victims died from stabbing, strangulation and blunt force trauma. Others survived being thrown in the path of trains on the London Underground.
Detectives believed they were in the presence of Britain's most prolific serial killer, yet Kelly's claims escaped public scrutiny for three decades. Then in 2015, a former police officer alleged the murders had been covered up the British Government. A sense of urgency gathered around the case; a new investigation begged to be undertaken. Especially after it emerged that remains, thought to be human, had been discovered on the site of Kelly's one-time home in Ireland. Against the background of intense international media interest, London's then Metropolitan Police chief, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, committed to revisited the case. In this thrilling new book we cross two countries and three police forces in search of the truth.
Using new eye-witness testimonies, the case of Kiernam Kelly, has been been methodically rebuilt, with new evidence gathered from a range of sources in Britain and Ireland. Fighting a fog of contradictory claims, the narrative pursuit of the Secret Serial Killer negotiates a series of curious twists before culminating in a bizarre showdown on the commons that Kelly himself once stalked.


Review- This is a circuitous narrative that ends up nowhere and I am not sure if that is the author's fault or the story itself. Kieran Kelly was in jail when he killed a fellow inmate then he confessed to thirty odd more murders to the police. The author Mulhern comes into the story of Kelly much later as he contacted by the former police officer Geoff Platt and then Mulhern begins his own investigation into the crimes himself. It is very detailed with interviews with people who knew Kelly, worked on his cases on both sides of it, and get access to files but not all of them. That is one of the questions this book brings up why is some of the Kelly case open to the public but not all and what parts are not? This book, in my opinion, just rises more questions about the cases around Kelly than answers.

I give this book a Three out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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message 39: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn and Nicole Goux (Illustrator). It is 208 pages long and is published by DC Comics. The cover is dark blue with Cassandra in the bottom looking at the reader. There is very mild foul language, no sex, and some violence in this comic. The story is told from third person close of Cassandra. There be Spoilers Ahead.


From the back of the book- Cassandra Cain, teenage assassin, isn't exactly Batgirl material...yet. Will she step out of the shadows and overcome her greatest obstacle- that voice inside her head telling her she can never be a hero?
Lucky for Cass, she won't have to defy her destiny alone. With the help of her mentors, noodle shop owner Jackie Fujikawa and a librarian named Barbara Gordon, she'll attempt to answer this questions the only way she knows how: learning everything she possibly can about her favorite hero. The problem is that Batgirl hasn't been seen in Gotham for years...
Can Cass find Batgirl before her father destroys the world she has grown to love? Or will she have to take on a heroic mantle of her own?


Review- This is a beautiful re-imaging of Cassandra Cain becoming Batgirl. Cass is just a voiceless assassin for her father, she doesn't know who she is, why her father wants her to do things she does, and she doesn't know where she is going. Cass is accidentally broken free of her father's control and she just runs without any idea about where she is or what she is going to do. The rest of the volume is Cass discovering herself, dealing with what her father was trying to make her, and making choices for her future. I really enjoyed this graphic novel, it was very well written, the art style is a good fit for this story, and the story itself is a wonderful coming-of-age story. If you don't know anything about Cassandra Cain, I think that this is a good place to start and I hope that DC Comics does more with this Cass.


I give this comic a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this comic from my local library.


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message 41: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on Perfect Little Children by Sophie Hannah. It is 329 pages long and is published by William Morrow. The cover is dark green with a house tag on a ribbon. The intended reader is someone who is interested in intense, twisty mysteries that have a strong thriller/horror vibe. There is some foul language, no sex and mild violence in this novel. The story is told from first person close of the main character Beth. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the back of the book- All Beth has to do is drive her son to his football game, watch him play, and then return home. Just because she knows her ex-best friend lives near the field doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her.
Why would Bath do that and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn't seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn't want to see her today- or ever again. But she can't resist. She parks outside the open gates of Newnham House and watches from across the road as Flora arrives and calls to her children, Thomas and Emily, to get out of the car.
Except...there's something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five ans three. Today, they look precisely as the then. They are no taller, no different from when Beth last saw them. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt- Beth heard Flora call them by their names- but why haven't they grown? How is it possible that they are still the same two perfect children Beth know more than a decade ago?


Review- This is a very surprising and twisty mystery that had me guessing what the heck was really going on the whole time. Beth sees her friend and her two children and they are still the same ages that they were twelve years ago. And what is going is on is really messed up. I haven't read Hannah before so I was not sure what to expect from her and I was pleasantly surprised. She had me guessing and wondering what Beth was going to do next and the real villain is very chilling. Their reasons were extremely evil and cruel and I was impressed with their cold-heartedness. If you looking for something very twisty and with a bad villain, then I would recommend this novel.


I give this novel a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


message 42: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's post is on You?: 25 Voice Share Their #MeToo Stories edited by Janet Gurtler. The cover is black with drawn portraits of the authors. It is 320 pages long and is published by Inkyard Press. Te intended reader is young adult or someone interested in the stories from the #MeToo movement. There is some mild foul language, discussion of sex, sexual abuse, incest, and violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.From the dust jacket- A timely and heartfelt collection of essays inspired by the #MeToo movement, edited by acclaimed young adult and middle-grade author Janet Gurtler. Featuring Beth Revis, Mackenzi Lee, Ellen Hopkins, Saundra Mitchell, Jennifer Brown, Cheryl Rainfield and many more.When #MeToo went viral, Janet Gurtler was among the millions of people who began to reflect on her past experiences. Things she had reluctantly accepted—male classmates groping her at recess, harassment at work—came back to her in startling clarity. She needed teens to know what she had not: that no young person should be subject to sexual assault, or made to feel unsafe, less than or degraded.You Too? was born out of that need. By turns thoughtful and explosive, these personal stories encompass a wide range of experiences and will resonate with every reader who has wondered, “Why is this happening to me?” or secretly felt that their own mistreatment or abuse is somehow their fault—it’s not. Candid and empowering, You Too? is written for teens, but also an essential resource for the adults in their lives—an urgent, compassionate call to listen and create change.Review- This is a intense series of essays about a big issue that young women in the modern world have and will deal with. Some of the essays are more intense with topics within them and some are milder but they all reflect something that the readers will understand and maybe learn how to better deal with. While this will be a tough read at time, it is a worthy one. Moving, interesting, at times very hard to read but still has merit, I would recommend this book.
I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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message 44: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's review is on Scott Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch. It is 347 pages long and is published by St. Martin's paperbacks. This is the second of Enochs Wild Wicked Highlanders series but you do not have to have read the first novel to understand the story. The cover is blue with the two main characters locked in an Embrace on it in the middle. The intended reader is someone who enjoys historical romance with a strong villain and two main characters that you're pulling to succeed through all the odds for. There is mild foul language, sexuality, and no violence in this novel. The story is told from third-person close of the two main characters moving over the course of the story. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the back of the book- When a resourceful English lady and a hot-blooded Highlander join forces to trick a scoundrel every rule will be broken!
Miranda Harris is known for her charm wit and ability to solve any problem she encounters. But when her brother lands neck-deep in gambling debt to a crafty villain and Miranda is subsequently blackmailed into marrying him she must enlist the help of the devil himself to save the family honor and herself.
Devilishly handsome Highlander Aden MacTaggert knows next to nothing about the ways of the Ton but he certainly knows his way around gambling halls and women's hearts. Still, not sure how he managed to find a Sassenach bride in time to save his family's inheritance. But when his almost sister-in-law Miranda comes to him for assistance, he proposes a partnership: she will help him navigate London society and he'll teach her everything about wagering... and winning back her freedom. The beautiful, clever lass intrigues Aiden but is she playing her own game, or are the sparks between them real? He's accustomed to risking his pocket. But betting on Miranda's love is a game he can't afford to lose …


Review- this is a fast-paced, at times very intense, historical romance. Miranda's brother has gotten into quite a bit of trouble with the villain who knew he was an inexperienced gambler and took him for everything he had and more. Aden Has been forced to come to London to find a English bride by his mother or the family will lose all of the money. The two characters start off at odds but they still like each other when the villain comes in he really submits that attraction into something more.The villain is really quite bad in this one, I was very nervous at times for the heroine, I was afraid that if he got her alone he would really do a harm to her so every scene he was in was very tense.The writing style is good with some Scottish phrases thrown in but in context so the reader can understand if you've never read anything with Highlanders before.The sexuality is fairly mild and can easily be glazed over if you're not interested in reading it. This is an excellent historical novel with two great main characters and a villain who really does make you very nervous. I highly recommend this if you enjoy historical novels.


I give this novel a Four out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this novel from my local.


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message 46: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's Review is on The Conference of Birds by Ransom Riggs. It is 325 pages long and is published by penguin Random House LLC. The cover is a black and white picture of a little girl facing away from the reader. as it is the fifth novel in his Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series, you need to have read the first four novels to understand the story. There is very mild foul language, no sexuality and Mild violence in this novel. The story is told from first-person close of the main character Jacob. There be spoilers ahead


From the back of the book- A fragile peace.
An apocryphal warning.
Chaos waiting in the heart of the storm.
With his dying words H- Jacob’s final connection to his grandfather Abe's secret sife- entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver the newly contacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V.
Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of a prophecy one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Sav Noor- save the future of all peculiardom..
With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to find V, the most enigmatic, and most powerful, all Abe’s former associates. But she is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found.
Time is running out. But even as Jacob and his friends are working feverishly to decipher the prophecy, it's warnings…

When the prisons are blown to dust
And Chaos Reigns

Are beginning…

The old ones from their sleep or torn
To come true.
An age of strife will soon be born

With enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman's story continues as he takes a brave Leap Forward into the Conference of Birds, the newest installment in the Beloved, number one best-selling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series.


Review- a strong fifth novel In The Peculiar Children series. We pick up right where the fourth novel left off with Jacob finding Noir and trying to escape from the American peculiar to get back to his friends at the devil's acre Loop. Just now what was very fast paced with not much time and a lot going on. Villain from the first Trilogy is back we don't really see him in this in this volume but we see his handiwork. Some character issues from previous novels are resolved in this novel, and one of the missing characters has been found but what kind of damage she has survived really has yet to be seen. I found the love story part of this novel very distracting and a little annoying. I want more Adventure from this series and less teenage angsty love story. But all in all this was a strong volume and I am interested to see where we're going to go in the final novel of this trilogy.


I of this novel of four out of five stars. I get nothing for my review read this book from my local library.


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Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's non-fiction book review is on The Dictionary Wars: the American fight of the English Language by Peter Martin. It is 358 pages long including index and bibliography and is published by Princeton University press. There is no foul language, no sexuality and no violence in this book. The intended reader is someone who is interested in the history of American Dictionary making. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the dust jacket - A compelling history of the national conflicts that resulted from efforts to produce the first definitive American dictionary of English.
In The Dictionary Wars, Peter Martin recounts the Patriotic fervor in the early American Republic to produce its definitive National dictionary that would rival Samuel Johnson's 1755 Dictionary of the English language. But what began as a cultural war of independence from Britain devolved into the battle among lexicographers, authors, Scholars, and publishers, all vying for dictionary supremacy and shattering forever the dream of a unified American language.
The overwhelming questions in The Dictionary Wars involved which and whose English was truly American and whether a dictionary of English should attempt to be American at all, independent from Britain. Martin tells the human story of the intense rivalry between America's first lexicographers, Noah Webster and Joseph Emerson Worcester, who fought over who could best represent the soul and identity of American culture. Webster believed in American Dictionary, like the American language, ought to be informed by the nation's republican principles, but Worcester thought that such language reforms were reckless and went too far. Their conflict continued beyond Webster's death, when the ambitious Merriam Brothers acquired the publishing rights to Webster's American dictionary and launched their own language wars. From the beginning of the nineteenth Century to the end of the Civil War, the dictionary wars also engaged America's colleges, libraries, newspapers, religious groups, and state legislatures at the pivotal historical moment that coincided with the rising of literacy and the print Revolution.
Delving into the personal stories and national debates that arose from the conflict surrounding America's first dictionaries, The Dictionary Wars examines the linguistic struggles that underpinned the founding and growth of a Nation.


Review- An interesting historical book about interesting but very dramatic people. The reader starts out following Webster at a young age all the way until the end where the Miriam Brothers have won the dictionary Wars but at the cost of Webster's vision. 2 records personal letters other first-hand documents Martin reconstructs the drama that surrounded Webster and his dictionary from when he first began to build it to what we would consider the modern Webster's Dictionary today. Webster had a vision that an American Dictionary would be wholly unique from all other English dictionaries in the world. He justified that by saying America was a holy new nation set on holy new ideals but he was not the best Lex ographer and his dictionary suffered for that. Worcester was the much better and solid scholar of the shoe men but he was a more retiring personality and only wanted to make his dictionaries and spelling books for children.The Clash of the two personalities over the building of America's dictionary was intense and at times absurd. the sniping and fighting language in the letters between each other and about each other to other people was quite funny and the reader should delight and seeing these tube Scholars tear each other apart over the meaning of a word. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in the history of dictionary making or and Noah Webster or Joseph Worcester.


I give this book a four out of five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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message 49: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (larainey) | 146 comments Today's nonfiction post is on Broken Faith: Inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, One of America's Most Dangerous Cults by Mitch Weiss and Holbrook Mohr. It is 411 pages long and is published by Hanover Square press. The cover is a faded out painting of what looks like a field with the title dominating the cover of the book. The intended reader is someone who's interested in true crime, religious cults, and the thin line where they cross. There is foul language, descriptions of sexual abuse and assault, and far too much violence in this book. There Be Spoilers Ahead.


From the back of the book- An explosive investigation into the Word of Faith Fellowship, a secretive Evangelical cult whose charismatic female leader is a master of manipulation.

In 1979, Jane Whaley, a fiery preacher with a thick Southern drawl, attracted a small group of followers- twenty-two men and women drawn in by her passion and her promise that through prayer and deliverance, they could turn their lives around.

In the years since, Whaley’s following has expanded to include thousands of congregants across three continents. In the eyes of her followers, she's a prophet- to disobey her means eternal damnation. It could also mean hours of physical abuse. The control she exerts is absolute: she decides what her followers study, where they work, whom they can marry- even when they can have sex.

Broken Faith is the meticulously reported story of a singular female cult leader, a terrifying portrait of Life inside the Word of Faith Fellowship, and the harrowing account of one family who escaped after two decades. Based on hundreds of interviews, secretly recorded conversations, and thousands of pages of documents, Broken Faith offers both a cautionary tale and a deeply emotional examination of Faith, resilience, and family. It's the story of an entire community's descent into darkness- and for some, the winding journey back to the light.


Review- This is a very difficult book to read. As I was reading it I had to read it one chapter at a time and then take a break. It is difficult and heartbreaking to read the stories of the survivors of this cult. Weiss and Mohr do a wonderful job of reporting the survivors' stories, with huge parts of it being told directly from them to the reader. We follow Jane Whaley from the wife of a preacher to being the head of a cult that goes across continents and has thousands of members. This book shows how easy it is to be taken into a cult and then be unable to leave when you discover what exactly you have been involved in. I do recommend this book, but I do also caution the reader. It is difficult to read, it discusses frankly difficult topics, and unfortunately at the end the villains are still free. But if you are interested in cults you should give this book a look.


I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I get nothing for my review and I borrowed this book from my local library.


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