Friday’s Book Excerpts

Happy Friday, readers!

Each week I share book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current book, as well as any first impressions or initial thoughts they might have. 
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences, and post them.

This week my excerpts will be from A Sister In My House by Linda Olsson.

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Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Astrid & Veronika, a lyrical novel of two sisters bound together by a tragic moment from their past.

Maria and Emma have not seen each other since their mother’s funeral two years ago. But now, Emma has come to visit Maria at her house in Spain, an unsettling intrusion on Maria’s quiet and solitary life. Over six days in the seaside town, the sisters cautiously recount the years of their separate adult lives. Their walks through the quiet town and evening talks on the terrace reveal almost more than Maria can deal with, until finally, the sisters confront their unspeakable family history.

A Sister in My House is a compelling drama of grief and betrayal, but ultimately it is a story of hope and forgiveness.


Book Beginning:

I can’t explain why I did it. Often, it is as if a part of me has its own impulsive life beyond my control. I am astounded at the mess it causes. And occasionally at the good that comes of it regardless.


The Friday 56:

‘Do you really have no positive memories of mother?’

I said nothing.

‘Not even early ones? When you were little, Amanda and you?’

I stopped in my tracks and looked at her.

‘No, I’m telling you! I keep those memories away from me, because they are painful. Mostly, I remember absence. My hopeless longing for intimacy. For love. Or even a small measure of interest. But mother lived in a world where there was only room for her.


What are you reading this weekend? Feel free to join in with lines from your current read!

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WWW Wednesday: April 18th, 2018

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.


I am currently reading:

A Sister In My House by Linda Olsson

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GoodReads Synopsis:

From the acclaimed author of Astrid & Veronika, a lyrical novel of two sisters bound together by a tragic moment from their past.

Maria and Emma have not seen each other since their mother’s funeral two years ago. But now, Emma has come to visit Maria at her house in Spain, an unsettling intrusion on Maria’s quiet and solitary life. Over six days in the seaside town, the sisters cautiously recount the years of their separate adult lives. Their walks through the quiet town and evening talks on the terrace reveal almost more than Maria can deal with, until finally, the sisters confront their unspeakable family history.

A Sister in My House is a compelling drama of grief and betrayal, but ultimately it is a story of hope and forgiveness.

I’m reading this book for free through Penguin’s First To Read program. So far, it has been a lovely read. It’s a bit of a slow burn – there’s not a lot happening in the storyline yet, but the author has a beautiful prose and I’m enjoying it.


I just finished reading:

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

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GoodReads Synopsis:

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

This book has been high on my TBR list for a while now, so when I found a hardcover copy at my library’s book sale on Friday, I was on that like white on rice! I couldn’t wait to dig into it and started reading it the very next day. I was not disappointed; all of those glowing reviews are telling the truth. It is a very powerful book. The story is absolutely heart-breaking and tragic, but also incredibly well-written and poignant. This is a book that will be sticking with me for a long time. I gave it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.


What I’m reading next:

White Oleander by Janet Fitch

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GoodReads Synopsis:

Everywhere hailed as a novel of rare beauty and power, White Oleander tells the unforgettable story of Ingrid, a brilliant poet imprisoned for murder, and her daughter, Astrid, whose odyssey through a series of Los Angeles foster homes–each its own universe, with its own laws, its own dangers, its own hard lessons to be learned–becomes a redeeming and surprising journey of self-discovery.

This is another book I found at my library’s book sale on Friday and I’m very excited to read it. I’ve heard a lot of great things and can’t wait to see if it’s as good as they say.


That’s all for my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?

My blog’s name in books

Lynne at Fictionophile created this new blog meme over the weekend. It looked like fun so I decided to join!

Rules: 

1.  Spell out your blog’s name. (this is where you wish your blog’s name was shorter LOL)

2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note you cannot ADD to your TBR to complete this challenge – the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR)

3. Have fun!  


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Man, I really wish I had a shorter blog name! So here goes…

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Image result for scrabble letter images d

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Image result for scrabble letter images i

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Image result for scrabble letter images e

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Image result for scrabble letter images s

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Image result for scrabble letter images r

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Image result for scrabble letter images e

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Image result for scrabble letter images a

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Image result for scrabble letter images d

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Image result for scrabble letter images i

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Image result for scrabble letter images n

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Image result for scrabble letter images g

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Image result for scrabble letter images c

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Related image

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Image result for scrabble letter images d

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Image result for scrabble letter images n

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Image result for scrabble letter images e

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Image result for scrabble letter images d

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And that’s it!

FYI – I linked all of the above cover images to GoodReads, so you can can click on them to learn more about each book.

I love seeing what other people have on their TBR lists! If you decide to join in on this meme, feel free to leave a comment with your link below so I can check it out. And, of course, don’t forget to link back to Fictionophile‘s original post. 🙂

Book Blogger Hop 4/13-4/19



Book Blogger Hop

This meme is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question:

Is there a fictitious town in a book that you would love to live in? What makes it appealing? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

My answer:

This is an easy one for me. I would love to live in the world that Harry Potter lives in. And of course, the biggest appeal of that world is MAGIC! Cooking, cleaning, laundry, fixing things around the house… all of my chores would be sooo much easier. Which would give me so much more time for things I actually enjoy, like spending quality time with my kids, going on adventures and making memories, and reading of course!

What about you? Where would you like to live? Leave me a comment below!

*If you’re here from the linkup, please leave your link in the comments so I can make sure to stop by and see your answer too.

Book Review: Baby Teeth

Title: Baby Teeth
Author: Zoje Stage
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: July 17, 2018
Pages: 320
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)

baby teeth cover

Book Blurb:

Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

My Thoughts:

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to read a book about a psychotic 7-year-old girl intent on killing her mother right before going to bed… Especially since I am the mother of a 7-year-old girl…

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Fortunately, my daughter is a very normal, stable child who loves me very much so I have nothing to worry about. Hanna, on the other hand, absolutely loathes her mother. The only person Hanna loves is her daddy, Alex, and she is a perfectly innocent, sweet little girl around him. Some of the things she says and does, the ways in which she is able to manipulate her father and the people around her, are just mind-blowing. She is incredibly intelligent and uses that to her advantage, making sure she leaves no trace of her misbehavior behind. Which means there is no evidence for Suzette to show Alex to prove that she’s not crazy, exaggerating, or outright making stuff up. The narrative switches back and forth between Hanna and Suzette’s points of view and while reading from Suzette’s perspective, the reader can really feel her strained patience and frustration with Hanna’s escalating actions, along with her intense fear, self-doubt, and desperation for Alex to understand.

I also really liked that the author included Hanna’s point of view, although those parts scared me (a lot) a little. Despite being highly intelligent, her mind is incredibly dark and disturbing. She is absolutely seething with hatred for her mother, but also fantasizes about hurting other people – even people who she has no reason to dislike, such as her classmates and the teachers at her school. It seems like the only person truly safe from Hanna is her father, and that’s only because he doesn’t recognize (or refuses to acknowledge) her dark side.

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However, I will admit the book really pushes the envelope in terms of believability, which was a big drawback for me. I had a hard time believing that all of Hanna’s thoughts were that of a 7-year-old child, even one as intelligent and mentally unstable as Hanna. Also, as the mother of 3 speech-delayed children, I don’t think the author handled Hanna’s supposed muteness as well as she could have. The book implies that choosing to be mute didn’t interfere with Hanna’s development in other areas or her daily routine at all, which is just not realistic. It claims that Suzette was able to homeschool Hanna and successfully teach her how to read and write without any established form of communication, such as sign language in lieu of verbal speech. Being mute and unable (or unwilling) to effectively communicate affects many aspects of everyday life, more than people realize. 

Overall, Baby Teeth was a very creepy and unsettling read. Although I had some problems with the believability of certain parts, it was well-written, intriguing, and thoroughly engrossing. I realize this isn’t going to be a book for everyone, but I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from this author.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

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Thank you to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Friday’s Book Excerpts

Happy Friday, readers!

Each week I share book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current book, as well as any first impressions or initial thoughts they might have. 
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences, and post them.

My excerpts for this week will be from my current read: Cove by Cynan Jones.

 

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Synopsis:

Out at sea, in a sudden storm, a man is struck by lightning. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered. Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return.


Book Beginning:

You hear, on the slight breeze, the tunt tunt, tunt tunt before you see the boat. You feel illicit.

When the boat comes alongside they cut the engine. Shout.

Waves break, the breeze. You don’t hear.


The Friday 56:

Somewhere he feels his ticking heart, an engine trying to start. Was he nearly gone? Was he gone?


What are you reading this weekend? Feel free to join in with lines from your current read!

WWW Wednesday: April 11th, 2018

WWW Wednesdays

This meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

To join in on WWW Wednesday, just answer these three questions and post the link to your responses on Sam’s blog and in the comments below.


I am currently reading:

Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

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GoodReads Synopsis:

Delia Hopkins has led a charmed life. Raised in rural New Hampshire by her widowed father, Andrew, she now has a young daughter, a handsome fiance, and her own search-and-rescue bloodhound, which she uses to find missing persons. But as Delia plans her wedding, she is plagued by flashbacks of a life she can’t recall. And then a policeman knocks on her door, revealing a secret that changes the world as she knows it.” In shock and confusion, Delia must sift through the truth – even when it jeopardizes her life and the lives of those she loves. What happens when you learn you are not who you thought you were? When the people you’ve loved and trusted suddenly change before your eyes? When getting your deepest wish means giving up what you’ve always taken for granted? Vanishing Acts explores how life – as we know it – might not turn out the way we imagined; how doing the right thing could mean doing the wrong thing; how the memory we thought had vanished could return as a threat.

Jodi Picoult is one of my top favorite authors, so when I came across this book at a used book sale and realized it is one of her books I haven’t read yet, it was a no-brainer to pick it up. It has been really good so far!


I just finished reading:

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

baby teeth cover

GoodReads Synopsis:

Sweetness can be deceptive.

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

This is an ARC I received from NetGalley and man, what a creepy and unsettling book! Especially for the mother of a little 7-year-old girl, like me. I’m still working on putting together a review, but it should be posted soon.


What I’m reading next:

Cove by Cynan Jones

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GoodReads Synopsis:

Out at sea, in a sudden storm, a man is struck by lightning. When he wakes, injured and adrift on a kayak, his memory of who he is and how he came to be there is all but shattered. Now he must pit himself against the pain and rely on his instincts to get back to shore, and to the woman he dimly senses waiting for his return.

This is a small, thin book, only 120 pages long, but it has an interesting premise and the reviews on GoodReads are absolutely glowing. I won a hardcover copy in a recent GoodReads giveaway and it came in the mail yesterday, so now I’m excited to crack it open and see if it’s as good as it sounds!


That’s all for my WWW Wednesday for this week. What have YOU read this week?

Book Blogger Hop 4/6-4/12

This meme is hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question:

Do you overextend yourself with too many reviews because you can’t pass up a book in hopes you will get them all done or do you carefully plan and be sure you can fulfill the deadlines for all the promised reviews? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver’s Reviews)

My answer:

I wouldn’t say that I’m a careful planner, not by any stretch, but I decided right from the start of my blog that I would be somewhat picky about the number of books I request on NetGalley. By only requesting a handful of books at a time, I know I’ll have plenty of time to read and review all of them before their deadlines, without getting overwhelmed. Plus, I’m less likely to give lower reviews because I only request books that I’m confident I will like. With the exception of one book, which I requested on NetGalley only 2 days before it’s release date (I wasn’t paying attention and definitely learned my lesson!), this method has been working for me so far.

What about you? Do you often find yourself overwhelmed with review copies? Leave me a comment below!

*If you’re here from the linkup, please leave your link in the comments so I can make sure to stop by and see your answer too.

 

Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

Title: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller
Release Date: September 4, 2018
Pages: 512
Buy This Book: Amazon/Audible (affiliate link)

book The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle cover

Book Blurb:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that will appeal to fans of Kate Atkinson and Agatha Christie.

My Thoughts:

Woah.

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This book is a strange blend of an Agatha Christy style murder mystery, the movie Groundhog’s Day, and the Netflix show Black Mirror. It is complex, even to the point of being somewhat confusing at times, but compelling. You will want to analyze the clues, figure out the riddles, and solve the murder. Unfortunately, I did not like the ending at all (no spoilers – I was just really hoping for something more), but I absolutely LOVED the journey to get there.

“How lost do you have to be to let the devil lead you home?”

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a very dark and atmospheric read, set in the 1920’s in a remote, isolated manor surrounded by acres of dense forest. It starts off with the narrator waking up in the middle of the woods, wearing a dinner jacket that isn’t his, and (as we later find out) trapped in a body that isn’t his. He has no memories and no idea who he is, just a name that was on the tip of his tongue when he woke up: “Anna”.

Eventually he is approached by a mysterious and very unsettling character wearing a plague doctor’s mask, who informs him that his real name is Aiden Bishop and that sometime later today there will be a murder, but it won’t look like a murder. Aiden has been bound to this day, destined to repeat it over and over again, unless he can discover the true identity of the murderer. But each morning, he’ll wake up in the body of a different “host” (one of the other guests at Blackhearth Manor) and each host comes with their own personality and physical traits – sometimes good, sometimes bad. By the end of the 8th day, if he still hasn’t identified the murderer, he’ll forget everything that he has learned and start all over again, just like he has already done possibly hundreds of times before.

“The future isn’t a warning my friend, it’s a promise, and it won’t be broken by us. That’s the nature of the trap we’re caught in.”

As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, Aiden soon learns there are other guests at the party that are just like him, trapped souls traveling between host bodies, but only one of them can escape. Whoever solves the murder first will be set free, while the others will stay behind, doomed to repeat the cycle forever. Even worse, while Aiden is distracted tracking down the killer, he is also being hunted himself by a dangerous and demented being called “the footman”, who is intent on cornering and killing him.

“If this isn’t hell, the devil is surely taking notes.”

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. If I were rating just the first 300-400 pages, this would have been a glowing 5 star review! But the ending really ruined it for me and because of that, I’m (almost reluctantly) giving it only 4 out of 5 stars. I would still highly recommend reading this book and in fact, I’ve already told several of my own close friends and family members that they simply HAVE to read it when it comes out.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for my honest review.

Author Bio:

stuart-turton-author

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his debut novel. He is the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition. He lives in London with his wife.

Author Links: 

https://stuturton.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/stu_turton

 

Friday’s Book Excerpts

Happy Friday, readers!

Each week I share book excerpts with:

  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current book, as well as any first impressions or initial thoughts they might have. 
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an ebook), find one or more interesting sentences, and post them.

My excerpts for this week will be from When Never Comes by Barbara Davis.

When Never Comes cover

Synopsis:

Author Barbara Davis deftly explores an emotionally charged landscape of pain, loss, and despair—and the risk one woman will take in the hope of loving again.

As a teenage runaway and child of an addict, Christy-Lynn learned the hard way that no address was permanent, and no promise sacred. For a while, she found a safe haven in her marriage to bestselling crime novelist Stephen Ludlow—until his car skidded into Echo Bay. But Stephen’s wasn’t the only body pulled from the icy waters that night. When details about a mysterious violet-eyed blonde become public, a media circus ensues, and Christy-Lynn runs again.

Desperate for answers, she’s shattered to learn that Stephen and his mistress had a child—a little girl named Iris, who now lives in poverty with her ailing great-grandmother. The thought of Iris abandoned to the foster care system—as Christy-Lynn once was—is unbearable. But she’s spent her whole life running—determined never to be hurt again. Will she finally stand still long enough to open herself up to forgiveness and love?


Book Beginning:

Monck’s Corner, South Carolina
August 19, 1986

The room is dark but not quite still. A threadbare curtain breathes in and out at the window, shuddering in the sticky Carolina heat. Outside, the hum of night things fills up the quiet, a chorus of moist throats and raspy wings calling through the torn screen.


The Friday 56:

She blinked hard as she turned to stare out the kitchen window. “I used to think he’d change his mind, that his heart would soften toward Iris in time, but it hasn’t. And it won’t. He means what he says.”


What are you reading this weekend? Feel free to join in with lines from your current read!