Reading Challenge for 2016 and what I’m currently reading

Everyone has challenges in the new year. Lose weight, find love of life, clean your room regularly, etc. While I completely share these dedications, I would also like to declare my dedications to my reading addiction this year. Below is a challenge I am going to take, and following that is the books I currently have that I want to finish. Comment, please!

readin list 2016

  1. A book published this year: The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
  2. A book you can finish in a day: (still looking for one)
  3. A Book you’ve been meaning to read: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead
  4. A book recommended by a local librarian or bookseller: Brida by Paulo Coelho
  5. A book chosen by your BFF: BFF, tell me!
  6. A book published before you were born: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  7. A book that was banned at some point: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossini
  8. A book you previously abandoned: Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes
  9. A Book you own but have never read: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
  10. A book that intimidates you: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  11. A book you’ve read at least once: Emma by Jane Austen

Currently on my bookshelf waiting to be read:

  1. Currently reading: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I have so much love for this writer and the book at this point. Really having a fantastic time. I can’t read too much at a time, because the book simply has such big ideas.
  2. Bridget Jones: Mad about the Boy by Helen Fielding. I really do love the original Bridget Jones, so quite interested to see what this is about.
  3. Brida by Paulo Coelho. Coelho is such an obscure, strange author. I’m never really sure what to make of his work.
  4. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks. Oh, because I need cheese in my life.
  5. Live in Dreams by Josephine Cox. Started it and put it down again, but I will finish it just to be scathing.
  6. Indelible by Karin Slaughter. To continue the series.
  7. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead. Because it was a mad hunt to get a copy and I want to be able to say that I’m done with the series.

What are your reading plans for the year?

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Thoughts 9.1

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Firstly, this post was initially incredibly whiney, (sadly not WINE-y). I edited a lot to make it not seem like an incessant moan session, so if you are reading this, know that I love you (in a purely unfreaky way) enough to change a post to positive. It started off one night as I forced myself off the internet (you freaking addictive thing).

It is September, which means Spring. I am so happy it is warmer. To the Northerners reading this, Winter is coming. You all at least get some snow while all we do in SA is get cold. I can’t wait for November, I am going to the coast (major dancing, partying and loafing will be involved, all on the beach)

What is happening quite soon:

I am doing the Colour Run in Johannesburg. It is my first time doing this and I really can’t wait.

I am up for a two week practical Chemistry class. That means two weeks of not dealing with work which is the best thing to happen since sliced cheese.

Speaking of South-Africa, here is a cute article about slang words South-Africans use.

Can people just not be such asshats?

I have this huge confession that I LOVE Kate and William. They are so sweet, and I don’t care if feminists think that she should do more with her life than pop out babies. Some women want that, just FYI, and it is their free choice to make. Anyway, I am super excited that they are having their next baby! So everyone who is moaning about the British money being wasted or whatever bug you have up your ass, just be happy for once that a couple is happy.

Another case of sever ass-ism are the people who left two Labrador puppies in a dustbin. My sister will now adopt one and the brother will go to another safe place. This is not the place to mention what I will do to the people that did that, but let’s just say for now I hope they end up in a dustbin without food or water. Would seem like justice.

Movies watched recently

Not a whole lot, but I saw One for the Money Friday night while drinking wine with my sister (the wine couldn’t even save that plot) and I saw Lucy in cinema Saturday. I also saw THAT was epic and I had such a good time with it, so keep an eye out for the post!

I am busy reviewing some Marvel films for my Marvellous Monday Blogathon. The table with available movies to watch is updated every Monday as the instalment post is posted, so hop over and takes a look.

Reading List:

To finish:

A Faint, Cold Fear – Karin Slaughter

Dead to the World – Charlaine Harris

Angel’s Fall – Nora Roberts. Yep, I am actually re-reading this for the gazillionth time.

To begin:

Dead as a Doornail – Charlaine Harris

A Game of Thrones – George R.R Martin

Series

After finishing the glorious Sherlock, I haven’t watched anything new. I was playing around with Vampire Diaries season three as part of my plan to catch up with all of it, but I am still not finished. I am going to start True Blood soon, with some light-hearted New Girl in-between because I just love that ridiculous show.

A hot guy, because I can

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And this one that Zoë sent me. Because we understand that so well

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A-Z Book Survey

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A-Z Book Survey

Zoë and Kim put up these two excellent posts about their book surveys, and I LOVED the idea, so I decided to be uber original and copy them! Reading is one of my all-time passions. When I truly discover a new book I go all reclusive and stay hidden for days. Nothing beats the rush of imagining what the author creates – reading is the true creation of an inspired mind, to my thought.

So, without further ado:

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Nora Roberts

Best Sequel Ever:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – JK Rowling. The Deathly Hallows was hands down the most epic finale a series ever received, and mostly likely will.

Currently Reading: 

Living Dead in Dallas – Charlaine Harris

Drink of Choice While Reading:

books and coffee

Coffee – I am such a typical book addict. Give me coffee and a book and I am happy!

E-reader or Physical Book:

Physical. If I read from my tablet, my eyes get really sore, so I always choose the hard copy if I can get it. Although I would definitely E-read if it is my only option!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated in High School:

Hmmm…probably Ron Weasley. Everyone loves a sincere goofball, and he has such a good heart!

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert. I am notorious for hating self-help books in any form (I think the authors are pompous and self-righteous to try and fix me – yeah) I thought this book would also be a self-help book, or maybe even worse, a “look-at-me-I’m-so-amazing”, type of book, but it wasn’t at all. It taught me a lot about dealing with grief, being open to other opinions and understanding that someone’s perfect life is never as it seems.

Hidden Gem Book:

Mushy Peas on Toast – Laurian Conrad. Laurian Conrad is a South-African writer that hasn’t published a second book yet (sad sighs). She has a rather great blog with the same name, and this author is simply hilarious, writing about being a young professional in South-Africa and all the madness in our lives. I really love this book and have to return to it every few months.

Important Moment in Your Reading Life:

harry potter

Reading Harry Potter. It is not only one of the most important reading experiences; I will say it is just an important life experience. These books taught me everything – kindness, compassion, empathy and kick-started my love for books.

I have to mention anything written by Enid Blyton, especially the Secret Seven books. Blyton and Rowling are two authors in the same boat – incredible writing and ingenious creativity.

Just Finished:

Dead until Dark – Charlaine Harris

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

Self-help, as discussed. EUGH

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet.

Major Book Hangover Because of:

The-Next-Always-Roberts-Nora-9780425243213

I have to admit I had one after finishing the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy by Nora Roberts for the second time. I was heartbroken that I had to leave three such fun characters and their male counterparts and the beautiful inn they created.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

One overcrowded on and three shelves full of books, with an additional 50 books stored in multiple locations.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

bloodlines

If I like a book, I will likely reread it more than once. But Angel’s Fall by Nora Roberts spring to mind, as well as the Potter series, Vampire Academy and Bloodlines.

Preferred Place to Read:

My bed.

Quote that Inspires You/Gives You All The Feels From a Book You’ve Read:

Molly Weasley’s duel with Bellatrix Lestrange, The Gryffindor Quidditch Team winning the House Cup for the first time in The Prisoner of Azkaban, Charlie Weasley overtaking Horace Slughorn to reach the Battle of Hogwarts, Snape’s secret.

Obviously I have a lot of feels for Potter.

Reading Regret:

Not finishing Jane Eyre. I should really get on to that again. I always feel so judged by the books I don’t finish, them staring at me with outrage in their eyes and broken hearts.

I also regret reading the first two books in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. What complete and utter bullshit.

Series You Started and Need to Finish (all books are out in series):

Southern Vampires – Charlaine Harris.

Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:

The Witness – Nora Roberts

This Charming Man – Marian Keyes

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Unapologetic Fangirl for:

Nora Roberts. This woman has such jaw dropping talent combining romance and horror.

Very Excited for this Release more than the Others:

mockingjay

Book to Movie – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The first two movies were beautifully adapted and I am really eager for the last two in the franchise! I can also freely admit my excitement skyrocketed after hearing that Lorde was doing the theme song – that spooky voice of hers will rock!

Worst Bookish Habits:

Reading several books at once. If I have a book I am reading on tablet, I will have another hardcopy for places where I can’t take my tablet, like the bath, and I really shouldn’t read in the bath as the steam damages the spines.

Not putting them back onto the bookshelf, leaving them lying everywhere.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Nora Roberts – Carolina Moon

Your Latest Book Purchase:

A faint cold fear – Karin Slaughter. I’ve read it about 60% and it is staring at me with its’ judgy little eyes.

Zzz-Snatcher Book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Everything I read, but Dead in Dallas is keeping me up right now.

Please keep this awesome post idea running! Feel free to make one of your own 🙂

May – you better be good to me.

Happy May.

Firsly, April was so crap I am only too glad it is over. When I say everything went wrong, that really is the truth. I got sick, then got an ulcer, which felt like someone was drilling into my mouth at a high speed and very often. Work was insane, petrol was fucking expensive (still is, FYI), and my brand new laptop broke, and my bank balance is sadder than Zimbabwe’s.

So, May

I really hope you are good to me. I am writing exams this month, but I will take it in the hope that I 1) pass and 2) anything will be better than April. I really want to start reading constantly again. I love books and reading helps me relax. It is really the best escape valve there is because it takes you to another world completely.

I want to finish Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert. I do not know why it is taking so long. The book is well written and interesting and I don’t understand why I can’t just finish it.

I want to read my third Karin Slaughter book. She is an amazing author who I am still surprised I enjoy so thoroughly.

I am rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the millionth time. It is so good and entertaining and sad and funny.

Walking slash running.

The-Best-ABS-Exercise

I am finally doing frequent exercise and I just want to continue in May because it leashes the crazy. I am still going a bit slow, but I am definitely improving. I already feel much better than a few weeks ago.

Movies

I love watching rom-coms and chick flicks and I am not afraid to say it. BUT, I want to start watching some decent stuff too. I can’t wait to explore and see what I love and hate.

What are your plans for May?

Book Review: Kisscut (Karin Slaughter)

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Dr. Sara Linton and her ex-husband finally seem to be moving on from his infidelity. Sara is still messing around with him some, unsure if she really wants to start a relationship. Sara and Jeffrey meet at the ice skating rink for a date, and they make plans for him to sleep over. Sara heads to the bathroom, and Jenny Weaver bumps into her. Jenny, one of Sara’s patients at the Children’s hospital, seems stressed and disappears before Sara can act on her instinct and check what is wrong. Sara is startled to see blood on her shirt, somehow transferred from Jennie’s person. Sara heads into the bathroom and makes a gruesome discovery.

Outside the rink, Jeffrey finds Jenny Weaver pointing a gun at Mark Patterson, a teenage boy. She is threatening to shoot him. When Jenny notices Jeffrey she tells him to either shoot her, or she will shoot Mark. Sara arrives, telling Jenny that the person in the bathroom is fine, but Jenny doesn’t believe her. She yells at Mark, telling him it is his fault, and he viciously tells her that he will see her in hell. No matter what Sara and Jeffrey say, Jenny won’t let the gun drop, and Jeffrey is forced to shoot a teenage girl.

Jeffrey is shattered and suffers from the knowledge that he shot a child. Jeffrey and Sara’s night is spoiled and they are both miserable. Sara is heartbroken by her autopsy of the baby that was left in the rink’s bathroom – the baby could have lived even if it was premature but it was murdered. Her biopsy on Jenny reveals horrific mutilation, and Sara and Jeffrey need to find out what happened to Jenny and why she so desperately wanted to kill Mark Patterson.

Lena Adams, a detective on Jeffrey’s police force, is still recovering from her horrific rape ordeal that just topped her exceptionally bad year. She is unable to forget the horrors she went through, and it is only through her uncle Hank’s determination for her to live that she is still functioning. He wants her to talk to a Pastor in their church, Dave Fine, to get some counselling but she constantly finds excuses to not go.

Jeffrey and Lena head to Mark Patterson’s house to talk to him about the incident. There is something in Mark that immediately calls to Lena, but she is unsure what it is. Mark’s father, Tom, is obviously a bully and has no patience for his son. They are open about the fact that Mark attacked his sister Lacey, who is away until the shooting drama is resolved, and that the police had to intervene. Mark is a strange boy, at times sad about Jennie’s death and her hatred of him and at times cocky and insolent. He seems very sad that his mother Grace is about to die from breast cancer, but that is mostly it. Lena and Jeffrey leave without any clear answers.

Jeffrey sends in Lena to talk to Jenny’s mom, correctly thinking that she wouldn’t want to talk to the man who killed her daughter. The interview starts off well, with Lena getting the trademark county sympathy from Dottie for her rape ordeal. Lena starts asking if maybe Jennie was involved in some scandals at school, because her promiscuity had by then started to reach the ears of the police, and Dottie gets very angry. She starts screaming when Lena shows her Jennie’s autopsy results and Sara is very angry because of Lena’s cruelty.

Jeffrey and Lena start searching deeper and deeper and they only get more questions. A big, nasty net of child pornography and molestation is found in Grant County, and it seems every single person is guilty. Lacey Patterson is abducted outside the clinic when she tries to tell Sara what is going on, and Mark soon thereafter tells Lena the horrific things he is being subjected to and then attempts suicide.

With Lacey being held captive somewhere and Mark comatose will Jeffrey be able to find the ringleaders and bring them down? Is there hope for him and Sara? Who else is in on the sick pornography ring?

Rating: 7/10

Kisscut made me so angry I had to put the book down and take a deep breath every few pages. It is sickening and I wanted to find every single child molester in the world and hurt them very badly and laugh at their anguish. I couldn’t put the book down eventually and had to finish it. I found the ending very unfair but sadly reflecting on things really turns out in cases like that. I thought some people didn’t deserve to die the way they did; it should have been much, much worse. There are certain people who don’t deserve kindness or empathy, and the character I’m talking about certainly qualified.

Kisscut explores avenues that people can’t even comprehend, and that made it very compelling. The more I read of Karin Slaughter the more I enjoy, and I personally feel she outstrips Patrcia Cornwell by far because she can actually write. Slaughter tells it like it is, highlighting how bad people really are. She has a lot of nerve writing about the scenes she creates, and I can’t help but feel a grudging respect for her while I read with one I closed hiding under my blankets.

Well worth the read if you can stomach it!

Weekend Fun and Happiness

I was so frustrated Friday Night. My BlackBerry was quite clearly on its last breath and my upgrade was only due at the end of March. My brother in law suggested I check the dates out because our service provider had pushed up some of the upgrade dates. I checked, and I could! So I went  in to Vodacom, with my patience fully in place (Good service is a bit of a myth in SA) but was so surprised with the efficient service I received – I was in and out in 40 minutes at the most! So I tweeted them my thanks – I fully believe in letting companies know when they are doing something right – and now my deed is done by putting it up on the blogosphere as well. I upgraded to a Samsung S4 Galaxy Mini. I am SO happy with it. Happiness forward!

Saturday night I went to a braai at a friend’s house. We had lost contact for a few years so the last few months had been the awkward getting to know each other thing again. It was much better than previously this weekend and I had loads of fun. She also has a dachshund puppy.  It is so incredibly cute and fluffy and wiggly! I WANT ONE AND I WANT IT NOW.

Fast and the Furious 6

It took me two days to finish it, but it was so worth the watch. I am always so entertained by the franchise and its latest instalment didn’t disappoint. I think the reason the sequels work so particularly well is because the cast is so much a family now. Their insults and interactions flow effortlessly.

Car

Still not over the complete freedom!

Karin Slaughter

The woman is probably the ballsiest writer out there. She leaves you horrified at the world she creates and unable to put the books down. I finished Kisscut, and although the ending irritated me (it was a realistic end but not the one that would have satisfied me). I took a while finishing the book – I think that last bit of the reading challenge exhausted me so much and I am taking time to recuperate.

Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Started on the sequel to Eat Pray Love. It is just as well written as EPL, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Books by Gilbert are always so full of knowledge and having just read about fifty pages I already have some extra facts floating around in my head.

Black hair

Dyed my hair black. Now it is the color of my soul. Kidding.

Sort of.

The Iconic Book Scene

Email me your favorite book scenes at natashastander@gmail.com!

And a quote:

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Source

Enjoy your day!

Book Review: Blindsighted (Karin Slaughter)

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Book: 94/100

Dr. Sara Linton works as both a paediatrician and coroner for Grant County. She is known and respected by all her colleagues, although she hates it when she has to work with her ex-husband, police Chief Jeffrey Tolliver. They are forced to work alongside each other again when Sara discovers the brutally murdered Prof. Sibyl Adams, a blind chemist while having lunch with her sister Tessa. She calls Jeffrey after she unsuccessfully tried to save Sibyl, and Jeffrey knows that it will be his job to tell Sibyl’s sister, detective Lena Adams, the news.

Lena takes the news obviously hard and initially blames Sara for her sister’s death. After the first stage of grief passes, she becomes determined to be in on the investigation. Jeffrey has his misgivings, but understands that it is part of Lena’s healing process.

Sara has been tentatively dating Jeb, a chemist in town. He seems genuinely interested but she knows she won’t ever fall as madly in love with him as she once was with Jeffrey. He seems to take her cancelling their dates because of her work really well, but she still doesn’t really connect with him despite his affable charm.

The next missing person is Julia Matthews, a university student who resembles Sibyl. The police arrest her ex-boyfriend Ryan Gordon, but it quickly becomes obvious that although he is a highly unsavoury fellow, he isn’t the serial rapist.

Julia is found naked and dying on Sara’s car and although Sara manages to stabilize her, Julia kills herself in front of Lena, saying that she can’t cope with what she remembers of her ordeal. Sara starts to notice that it seems the victims were specifically placed in places where it was inevitable that she would find the bodies. It forces her to remember her own rape – abut since her rapist sends her a card each year on the “anniversary” of her rape it is highly unlikely unable that she will ever be able to. Tessa warns her that if she doesn’t tell Jeffrey, Tessa will. Sara leaves the trial manuscript of her rapist in Jeffrey’s house and he is so shocked and saddened. She is angered when she doesn’t hear from him, but he is merely stunned speechless and heartbroken and doesn’t want to cause more damage by saying the wrong thing.

Lena is taken captive by the rapist and Sara, Jeffrey and the police force are desperate for more knowledge. Will Lena survive? What will Jeffrey say to Sara and will they ever reconcile? Who is the rapist that is terrorizing Grant County?

Rating: 7.5/10

Zoë has been strongly campaigning for me to read some Slaughter. I put it off for a long time – the woman’s name is SLAUGHTER – but eventually got around to it.

I was really impressed. As a debut novel, Blindsighted was exemplary. My one problem was that I figured out the killer – and it was a rookie mistake in the book that confirmed my suspicions, not some amazing dormant investigative skills.

I really like the writing style of Madam Slaughter. I am always a fan when an author knows how to tell a story without using too many events to make things clear.

The suspense was really well done. It is so obvious that Sara is in great danger that I wanted to scream at the pages for her to run fast and hard. I thought she had amazing survival courage all throughout the book, and was really touched and saddened by how she wouldn’t ever become a victim.

Thoroughly recommended!

Weekend, Final Countdown and Birthdays

This weekend was hectic and lovely. I really like a busy weekend once in a while. On Friday I went to Gino’s to have some pizza with some colleagues. It was really wonderful. The pizza was delicious!

Saturday morning I read Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter. I am so happy I finally started on her work. Slaughter’s books are really descriptive and intelligently written, without being too violent and therefore unreadable. The only glitch is I figured out who the killer was way before the book’s end, but luckily it didn’t deduct from the joy of discovering a new author.

Saturday night we had a braai for my sister’s birthday. It was really nice. Touch wood, but it seems the temperatures are slightly dropping in Johannesburg.

Sunday we went for a picnic at Rietvlei Zoo farm. It was also really lovely and so relaxing to sit under the trees and enjoy the cool temperatures.

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Skies at Rietvlei Zoo Farm

Book Challenge

It is the final countdown! I am on 94 books at the moment, and with only this week I will be reading my ass off to finish the last six. I can’t believe a year has passed!

Happy Birthday

To the best older sister I have. Happy Birthday Theranne!

And a quote for today:

Oscar Wilde

 

 

Weekend, Book Challenge and raging at the weather

monday madness

Happy, erm, Monday

So, I was spectacularly late this morning for work. It is raining like it is England, and I am not impressed. I hate driving in the rain. Johannesburgers are horrific drivers at best but it seems that in the rain they think it is Need for Speed Joburg. Meh.

Speaking of driving, I finally have my own car! It feels unbelievable that I can do whatever I want. I have been unhappy with my car-lessness for years, so I am so incredibly happy about it.

Friday I visited my sister (in my own car). Saturday said sister brought me car seats as a belated birthday gift and that night I drove myself to a braai at friends.

Sunday was my dad’s birthday. Happy 58th birthday Daddy! We celebrated at my sister’s house with brunch – our picnic plans were ruined by the rain once again.

I finished Suits Season three, which was absolutely good. I also caught up with Pretty Little Liars Season four. Without giving away too much to those who still needs to watch, the latest A development is deliciously freaky. I also appreciate that the show is getting real development – season three was all about stalling.

At the braai I went to we suddenly had the inexplicable urge to know our Chinese Zodiac signs. Apparently I am a Horse. Which is a lot better than being a Rat, I might mention. But it is supposed to mean I am more cunning than intelligent. Watch out folks.

Book Challenge progress and countdown

I had a good reading stint this weekend. I read and finished The Fault in Our Stars (cry cry cry). I also read The Notebook – one of Nicholas Sparks’ better attempts, and finished the Rescue, also by Sparks, which wasn’t the best of attempts by him. I thought to finish Shopaholic Abroad (Sophie Kinsella), but not even for finishing a book challenge will I read such atrocious nonsense.

I am officially in the last month of my Book Challenge countdown. I am already at 86 books, which means fourteen books left. I am so happy I decided to track how many books I can read in twelve months. I have certainly thought it must be a fair number, because I am always reading – even if I am in a slump I will be reading. It is part of who I am. I could never change that.

I have to say the only drawback of doing this was that I couldn’t reread my favorite books – or I could but I couldn’t add it to the list. If I remember correctly I only reread Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Indigo Spell (Richelle Mead). At the beginning of March I will probably start going through my favorite books.

New authors

One of the perks of not rereading books was definitely exploring new authors. Some I won’t be persuing again (Katie Fford, Patricia Cornwell) but some others I definitely will. I really enjoyed Veronica Roth (DIVERGENT WAS AWESOME), Francis Scott Fitzgerald (the Great Gatsby), and Bryan Green (The Fault in Our Stars).

Reading List:

Karin Slaughter – Zoe’s been telling me to read these books for ages, and I am going to try them. There are 7 in the series and I will probably start tonight on them.

The Quinn Legacy by Nora Roberts – 4 books.

7+4 = 11 + 86 = 97. If you know of any three books worth reading please mention them to me!

Really want to read the sequel to Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, which was amazing, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea to tackle a 700 page strong novel with four weeks left in the challenge!

What did you do this weekend?