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Book Review – The Hostile Hospital

Hostile_hospital

Title: The Hostile Hospital [A Series of Unfortunate Events 8]

Author: Lemony Snicket

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 221

Rating: 5 Star

Series Review: 12, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

Before you throw this awful book to the ground and run as far away from it as possible, you should probably know why. This book is the only one which describes every last detail of the Baudelaire children’s miserable stay at Heimlich Hospital, which makes it one of the most dreadful books in the world.
There are man pleasant things to read about, but this book contains none of them. Within its pages are such burdensome details as a suspicious shopkeeper, unnecessary surgery, an intercom system, anesthesia, heart-shaped balloons, and some very startling news about a fire. Clearly you do not want to read about such things.
I have sworn to research this story, and to write it down as best I can, so I should know that this book is best left on the ground, where you undoubtedly found it.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Normally we would build into the sadness that is these books but with this one we start off their and it only gets worst and worst as we read on.

Because the children lost their friends and current caretaker and were framed for murder in the ending of the last book, they are on the run and for the very first time truly on their own. They try to get in contact with Mr. Poe to try and explain things to him and hoping, with no great hope at all since he has never really been useful, that he can help them clear their names and get them off the streets and off the run. Before they can get a response from him however they are forced to move on because someone realises who they are.

I cannot really talk about this book too much without giving away a lot of spoilers so I will try and keep this review brief.

The children end up tricking their way into working in a file room that has records on many many many things after following another false lead about V.F.D. After a comment maid by the person who runs the records, they think they can finally find something out about Jacques Snicket, but when they turn up nearly completely empty in their searches, they discover a single photograph and sentence that rocks them to their core so much that their situation goes from bad to near death without them even realising it.

Page thirteen of the Baudelaire file was not a crowded sheet of paper – there was just one photography and a sentence to make an author cry himself to sleep even years after the photograph was taken, or to make three siblings sit and stare at a page for a long time, as if an entire book were printed on one sheet of paper.

The end of this book had me freaking the hell out. This is the first time I was actually thinking that someone was going to die and I was just dying on the inside and screaming at the words on the page (or the ones being read to me anyway). If at all possible the end of this book lands the children in an even worst situation than the end of the one before it, and we are left with still no answers and more questions that just make you want to cry with frustration because all of these questions and hints at things you don’t even want to hope are true because if they aren’t will break your heart must just be destroying these kids on the inside.

The sad truth is the truth is sad.

That is all I am going to give you for now. I didn’t want to have a spoiler filled review because if you don’t care about spoiler and read this I don’t want you knowing when you go in. I want you to read it then come back and discuss things with me. I need someone to talk to about these books!

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Vile Village

Vile_village

Title: The Vile Village [A Series of Unfortunate Events 7]

Author: Lemony Snicket

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 228

Rating: 5 Star

Series Review: 12, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages. I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats. It is my solemn and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children’s lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing, such as reading another book instead.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

The story is much more interesting to me now that we are getting bigger picture stuff.

The children head off to a town called V.F.D and the children hope by making this town their new caretaker they can finally find out the mystery the Quagmires tried telling them about when they were captured at the end of the fifth book. They arrive and find that this is not the case however.

The general town seems to be just as bad as all the other people that are supposed of take care of them, but luckily for the children they catch a small break by being placed in the care of Hector, someone who listens to them and is actually willing to help as long as they do their townly duties first. I loved Hector, he is one of the few adult characters in this series who actually seems to have a brain, a soul, and bravery at the same time. While he starts off not being able to speak or really even look at people who frighten him he actually develops as the story goes and by the end he is willing to stand up for himself and the children and tries to save their lives.

This book finally seems to just focus on the bigger picture of the story rather than just the same random bad stuff that happens to the kids. No answers are given within the pages of this book however. The only that remotely gets solved, and this is a SPOILER is the Quagmire triplets. The children find them and rescue them in the final moments. The Baudelaires were suppose to escape with them and Hector in a giant air balloon that can never land and live in peace in the sky, but as the Baudelaires are climbing the rope they get attacked and must stop climbing and let their friends and closest thing to family fly off without them. I was so devastated for them. I don’t think living in the air for the rest of your life would be great, but they could have worked out a way to get down later and then started new perfect lives with their new wonderful family. But of course they don’t get that. END SPOILER

We just get more and more questions. Who the hell is Jacques Snicket, what dies our author and Beatrice have to do with all of these things that are happening. What the hell does V.F.D stand for! At one point we think we are going to get some answers, but they just all float away. The book ends in the worst position the children have ever been in before.

I would say read this book for sure. Knowing what I know about the others I might even say skip numbers 3 and 4 cause I hated them and they were pointless. But I would suggest reading the rest like me because how on earth else are we going to get answers?!

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Ersatz Elevator

Ersatz_elavator

Title: The Ersatz Elevator [A Series of Unfortunate Events 6]

Author: Lemony Snicket

]Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 198

Rating: 5 Star

Series Review: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

If you have just picked up this book, then it is not too late to put it back down. Like the previous books in A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, there is nothing to be found in these pages but misery, despair, and discomfort, and you still have time to choose something else to read.

Within the chapters of this story, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire encounter a darkened staircase, a red herring, some friends in a dire situation, three mysterious initials, a liar with an evil scheme, a secret passageway, and parsley soda.

I have sworn to write down these tales of the Baudelaire orphans so the general public will know each terrible thing that has happened to them, but if you decide to read something else instead, you will save yourself from a heapful of horror and woe.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

My favourite one so far. This review will contain spoilers so I suggest only reading if you do not care what is said or if you have read the book already.

In this book the children enter a home where is kind of looks like they have finally found a home where things are not so bad, nearly as good as when they were with uncle Monty, with their new caretakers Jerome and Esme. Esme only cares about what is ‘in’ and this makes our orphans worry about when orphans are no longer in, but Jerome listens to what they want and seems to go out of his way to make things comfortable. For example he gave them each a room which would accommodate each of their individual needs. He is even willing to help them or at least let the children look for their kidnapped friends the Quagmire triplets who Count Olaf got at the end of the last book.

And can I take a moment here to just fail to imagine how big this new penthouse the children move into is? Its has 75 bedrooms or something. Thats just the bedrooms, that doesn’t count any extra rooms like kitchens, bathrooms or lounge rooms. Can you picture just how big that is? How big was this damn building?

In their search for Olaf and the Quagmires the children climb down an elevator shaft with homemade rope and guess who they find at the bottom, the Quagmires. I was so happy to have them found, but they were locked up and they had to leave them to go and get something that would open the cage they were held in. By the time they returned however Olaf had moved them and hidden them in an item that he planned to sell at Esme’s auction. Later the children raced up and told Esme what was happening hoping that she would cancel the auction, but it turns out she was actually working for Olaf and is in love with him. She pushes the chidlren down the elevator shaft which has now had a net placed in it to keep the children captured until they returned for them. She screams about doing it because of Beatrice, the women our author keeps mentioning throughout the books. What on earth?! Need answers now!

Here is where I find something to complain about, everything up until now was very exciting. In order to escape Sunny must climb up the shaft with her teeth to fetch their home made rope. Lets picture that for a moment. If at all possible, it would takes years or her teeth would have to be super long and be able to kind of walk themselves up the shaft. Moving on though.

They go down the shaft and out the tunnel and pop up in their old burned down house. Again, what the hell! Esme was clearly involved somehow but we have yet to get any answers at all. The children don’t even get to rescue the Quagmire triplets and to make matters worst, because Jerome doesn’t like to argue and isn’t brave, he gives the children up to Mr. Poe again because hunting down the Quagmires seemed to dangerous. My heart wept for the kids in this book. So close, everything was so close but no dice.

My favourite quote from this book would have to be:

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Austere Academy

The_Austere_Academy

Title: The Austere Academy [A Series of Unfortunate Events 5]

Author: Lemony Snicket

]Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 230

Rating: 4.5 Star rounded down

Series Review: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

If you are looking for a story about cheerful youngsters spending a jolly time at boarding school, look elsewhere. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent and resourceful children, and you might expect that they would do very well at school. Don’t. For the Baudelaires, school turns out to be another miserable episode in their unlucky lives.

Truth be told, within the chapters that make up this dreadful story, the children will face snapping crabs, strict punishments, dripping fungus, comprehensive exams, violin recitals, S.O.R.E., and the metric system.

It is my solemn duty to stay up all night researching and writing the history of these three hapless youngsters, but you may be more comfortable getting a good night’s sleep. In that case, you should probably choose some other book.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I was a little worried after the last one that this one was going to go downhill from there even more but I was pleasantly surprised.

I think what made this book the most for me is the fact we are introduced to other kids, the two remaining Quagmire triplets Duncan and Isadora whose family also died in a fire. Loved these new kids, really liked seeing the orphans interact with people their own age let alone people they can relate to. Introducing these kids though makes me think that the author is trying to put across the message kids are smart, adults are stupid.

The writing style is still just as funny and annoying at the same time as all the books before it. There were a few quotes I really like:

There is no worse sound in the world than someone who cannot play the violin but insists on doing so anyway.

God yes. Its so so so painful. And the other is:

As I’m sure you know, a good night’s sleep helps you perform well in school, and so if you are a student, you should always get a good night’s sleep unless you have come to the good part of your book, and then you should stay up all night and let your schoolwork fall by the wayside, a phrase which means ‘flunk.’

Again. I agree. Though I haven’t flunked because of it a good book has done this to many times and I am sure it has done it to you as well!

Plot wise this book is very much the same as all the other ones so I really don’t know what else I can say in this review. With the children both being in similar situations we are finally getting an idea of a much bigger plot that will hopefully start taking over the story. The ending really got to me and a big mystery is opened up and I read on to find out what the answers were. If it wasn’t for this opening of larger plot I think I would have dropped the series because its not so much fun to read the same story with slightly different details over again and again.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – The Miserable Mill

miserable-mill

Title: The Miserable Mill [A Series of Unfortunate Events 4]

Author: Lemony Snicket

]Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 169

Rating: 3 Star

Series Review: 12, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

hope, for your sake, that you have not chosen to read this book because you are in the mood for a pleasant experience. If this is the case, I advise you to put this book down instantaneously, because of all the books describing the unhappy lives of the Baudelaire orphans, THE MISERABLE MILL might be the unhappiest yet. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are sent to Paltryville to work in a lumbermill, and they find disaster and misfortune lurking behind every log.

The pages of this book, I’m sorry to inform you, contain such unpleasantries as a giant pincher machine, a bad casserole, a man with a cloud of smoke where his head should be, a hypnotist, a terrible accident resulting in injury, and coupons.

I have promised to write down the entire story of these three poor children, but you haven’t, so if you prefer stories that are more heartwarming, please feel free to make another selection.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I think this was the scariest of the books thus far.

The children head on to a lumbermill where they are forced to work in exchange for their new guardian keeping Count Olaf away from the children. Of course this doesn’t happen and the children fall into more troubling events. Klaus gets hypnotised and is forced to commit horrible actions. I was freaking out when Klaus got hypnotised. It is bad enough that bad events keep happening to them and all around them but it is another to force them to join in the bad activity.

Entertainment wise though I think this is probably the one I have had the most issue with thus far.

One of the first things I had issues with, though not really that big a deal, is the fact that the place was obsessed with gum, that the children had to eat it, and it was stuck basically everywhere. You can’t eat gum. It doesn’t digest properly. And ew. I think the only reason why it was such a big deal in this book is because Klaus required gum to do something at the end of the book.

Also, I know the whole point to these stories is that they are supposed to be sad, but there was never any happy moment in the book. There wasn’t really any contrast so it was all the same and kind of dull. Even the part where someone I liked was being threatened by an electric saw, the event seemed to last an exceptionally long time so I no longer really gave a damn if they got chopped up or not because I was tired of hearing about it.

I think the thing I found most ridiculous however was at the end where Sunny, a baby who cannot even walk, had a sword fight with a fully grown woman. Oh, and Sunny didn’t even had a sword, she used her teeth instead. And apparently not being able to move or be as tall and only using the 4 teeth in her mouth she was able to be evenly matched for the woman. She didn’t even get a scratch on her face. I had to picture Sunny as baby vampire pretty much the entire time, being able to float and move quickly, and have super strength and healing otherwise it didn’t work. I know its middle grade but you don’t have to be stupid about these things!

I will say that the book had some good lines though:

Raisins are healthy, and they are inexpensive, and some people may even find them delicious. But they are rarely considered helpful.

So yes, if you are reading this series I hope you find more enjoyment from this book than I did. The more I read the more I seem not to like it. I don’t think these books are a good thing for me to marathon.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Wide Window

wide_window_frontcover_large_src9U4aWWwyaBec

Title: The Wide Window [A Series of Unfortunate Events 3]

Author: Lemony Snicket

]Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 183

Rating: 4 Star

Series Review: 12, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and this one may be the worst of them all.If you haven’t got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signalling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair.I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Though I liked this one I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the first two.

In this book the orphans travel to their Aunt Josephine’s house which is atop a hill off the edge of the cliff over the lake. The setting of this book was quite exciting. It was interesting to get a story based around a lake that is filled with leeches that eat you all up if they even sniff a crumb on you. They will even sink a boat to get to you, which is a hardship the children must survive thanks to Josephine. It was all very exciting really.

However, Aunt Josephine is the very reason why I didn’t like this book quite as much. I want at least one side character to like other than the children. Aunt Josephine is such a horrible person. She is terrified of just about everything and will not do or let the children do a great many things that would make life easier or just plain comfortable because she is terrified about something horrible happening. For example, she is afraid to cook hot food despite how cold the house is because the stove might burst into flames. While all this could be forgiven, she does look after the children despite the stupid challenges she invents. She also actually teaches them things like grammar cause she thinks it the most important thing ever. None of this though makes up for what she does at the end of the book so if you have not read this book skip the next paragraph.

Her fear of Count Olaf, which is understandable I suppose since he tried to get her to kill herself, makes her offer the children over to him even though she knows he will make them suffer for their money, in exchange for her own life. I was so mad. A part of me was happy she got eaten by the leaches because she created all the issues herself. I did feel bad for the orphans when that happened though because someone else that was suppose to love and look after them had died and this time they had to watch it.

I don’t really know what else to say because the overall structure of the stories seems to be the same. Find new home, some bad but not so bad things, Count Olaf appears in a new outfit and tricks everyone because he has shoes on, some bad things happen, children solve issues, Count Olaf is discovered and disappears again, children move into the next home and book.

I continue on reading for I want more substance and I hope that I shall get more the more I read/listen.

 

Till Next Time…

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Book Review – The Reptile Room

reptileroom

Title: The Reptile Room [A Series of Unfortunate Events 2]

Author: Lemony Snicket

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 169

Rating: 4 Star

Series Review: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

The story may seems cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle…

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I think this book was more heartbreaking than the first one.

We go into this section of the story into a lovely household with an Uncle that treats the kids amazingly. He tends to all their needs and desires and really rather spoils them rotten. I love Uncle Monty, though I couldn’t take him seriously in audio book form. The voice that was used for him was like a drunk British guy. I suggest this book in non-audio format for this one reason. Uncle Monty was not a drunk! He was lovely and had awesome animals.

Sadly, we are also told straight away that we shouldn’t expect these happy times to last very long because Uncle Monty was going to die and the children did not pick up on any of the clues or think of any way to stop the events in time to save him. My heart broke for the children. Again they kind of tried to stop the bad things from happening, but they couldn’t seem to get any help.

Poor kids.

The writing style though really good does have a downside to me. It was present in the first book as well but I didn’t want to mention it in that review, the story tends to break out of its rhythm to explain what a number of the words used mean. While I am sure this is good for younger readers, I find this quite annoying. Much like the children get frustrated that the adults in their lives are always explaining what words mean when they already know their meaning. The only thing that keeps it from driving me totally nuts was that sometimes the explaining of the words isn’t always straight out of the dictionary and were given a humorous twist to it.

So yes, I enjoyed this book very much despite the annoyances. I feel so sorry for the children and things are not going to get better for them. If you liked the first read this one because for the small moment which Uncle Monty was alive in this book it was very nice to see them have those moments. I worry about what other things they will have to face.

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – The Bad Beginning

BadBeginnings

Title: The Bad Beginning [A Series of Unfortunate Events 1]

Author: Lemony Snicket

Genre: Middle Grade, Mystery

Length: 141

Rating: 4 Star

Series Review: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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Description/Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

The description of this book is very apt.

This book though holding a middle grade title it holds the deeper meaning within is sad sad pages. This is a book that will teach children that not all stories have a happy endings. Even though the events are out there, the events in real life do not always end well even if you are just three very cute and interesting children. It breaks the unrealistic idea that all stories have happy endings. Though I like this story and the fact it isn’t happy (I like it in a sad way) I don’t really think that children need to be learning this lesson. I hope the idea kind of goes over their heads. The nice part about being a child is that you have those beliefs that everyone has a happy ending, its growing up and having our own unfortunate events that kill that idea. Better leave things hopeful as long as you can.

Following this train of thought, I kind of wish that this book wasn’t middle grade and had more depth to is in its contents. Another part of me of course didn’t feel this way though because if it was YA or Adult it might completely destroy what a lovely sad story it is at heart.

I loved our three main characters. They each have their own identify and accept those aspects as a definer of who they are. They are really very well together and confident children. Even Sunny, though I hope Sunny’s definer of biting kind of changes as she gets older in the series. Its cute now, but it wont be when she is bigger. I wonder how much the children will age during the course of the books? I love how the children stick together even though I don’t know how realistic that is. Even though they have gone through something horrible, children generally will not get along as much as these, but I suppose that is part of their charms. Their love for each other.

I found our villains greatly dislikeable, which is a good thing. They are very realistic in ways that children going to a new home with people/persons that they have no idea about are truly scary. They are also very realistic in the sense that children going into a new home do not always end up in a good home or even a safe place to live. The other adults that are not ‘the bad guys’ are also dislikeable and frustrating in a realistic way because no matter how often the kids tried to tell people about their sufferings they got dismissed because the adults wouldn’t take what they were saying seriously because of their ages.

The ending of this book was very sad but we already know that it was going to happen. There was never any chance of happiness in these books. The woes of the children are never ending and exaggerated. When the kids think back about all their hardships and include ‘Itchy Shirts’ in the mix with all the other, vastly worst struggles, I had to have a little giggle because that was such a thing children would count as a hardship.

So yes, don’t pick it up if you don’t want lots of suffering and no happy endings. But if you are willing to experience a different kind of middle grade book I think you should give it a go because its enjoyable.

 

Till Next Time…

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AYearAThon – August

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AYearAThon is a read a thon that happens each month throughout the year with different themes. You can find the goodreads group here.

August’s theme runs from the 4th (which happens to be my birthday ^_^) till the 10th. There doesn’t seem to be a specific time in which this starts, I am starting the clock at midnight my time. This months theme is:

Middle Grade

Though I loved the Riordan I read in June I thought I would try and different author this month. So I chose Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.I even got audio books for while I am at work :D

BadBeginnings reptileroom wide_window_frontcover_large_src9U4aWWwyaBec miserable-mill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have set myself a bit of an ambitious goal this month but hopefully I will get to read them all. Share your lists if you are participating too so that I can see what you are reading.

 

Till Next Time…