April + May Wrap-up (3-Star Ratings Galore) & An Unrealistic June TBR

Hi, all! Today I’m going to be posting a double wrap-up featuring the books I read in both April and May because I didn’t get to upload an April wrap-up back at the start of May. I also updated my Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019 progress tracker, so check that out if you’d like. I raised my goal to a giant panda!

Books I Read in April

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4/5 stars. Rep: Latinx cast, sapphic MCs

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia– I wrote a review for this where I basically gush about the main characters, Dani and Carmen, as individuals, and then Dani and Carmen as a couple. Also, since it’s Pride Month, I think this is the perfect time to read this unapologetically Latinx and queer book that tackles much-needed topics concerning classism, prejudice and misogyny.

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3/5 stars. Rep: Asian cast, sapphic characters

Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer) and Sana Takeda (Artist)– This was my graphic novel read for the month, and, like basically all of my graphic novel reads of the past months, I rated it three stars. I really think that the length of graphic novels really makes it hard to rate them any higher. If you do want to read this though, be sure to read the trigger warnings first. Also, sneak peek on an “If you liked this, then try this” post that I may be posting–I think this would be a great novel for fans of The Poppy War by R.F Kuang!

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3/5 stars. Rep: Asian cast, sapphic MCs

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan– I wrote a full review for this. I just had a feeling that I wouldn’t love this as much as everyone else, and I was sadly right. I think that fact kind of numbed the disappointment though, so I wasn’t too sad about my rating. If I were to have rated this book on themes and representation alone, it would’ve gotten an automatic five out of five, but I sadly found both the characters and plot in this one… mediocre. *hides from the booing*

I also wanted to say that the cover for the sequel, Girls of Storm and Shadow, was recently revealed, and you can check it out here! Queer Asian girls in covers add ten years to my life span and they will to yours too!

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3/5 stars. Rep: MC with anxiety, lgbtq+ side characters, disabled side character, black side character, hijab side character

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson– The murder mystery atmosphere was established beautifully, both in the flashbacks and in the present. I really liked the main character Stevie, and her romance with David was really cute. However, believe me when I say that none of your questions will be answered in this novel. I know that everything will probably be answered in the later books, but the fact that this book just served as an introduction to the mystery, instead of solving any of the mystery, irked me so much.

Books I Read in May

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[no rating] Rep: autobiography of a black woman

Becoming by Michelle Obama– I don’t think it would be fair of me to rate this because I’m not someone who reads autobiographies, and I simply picked this up on a whim. I’ve now come to realize that, at least at this point in my life, I have no interest in reading about other people’s lives. I also don’t care much for American politics, so that didn’t help this book’s case. If I did give this a rating, it would probably be a 2.5 stars. But, if you do regularly read autobiographies and are a fan of Michelle Obama’s, I think you’ll enjoy this book way more than I did. She also narrates the audiobook herself, so I recommend listening to it if you can.

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient, #2)
3/5 stars. Rep: Vietnamese characters, autistic MC

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang– If I read a romance, I want it to be the slowest burn, ideally with a healthy sprinkling of angst to go with it, and this sadly was a case of the two main characters becoming attracted to each other at first sight, and while that’s understandable, it’s not my cup of tea.

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3.5/5 stars. Rep: bi MC, lesbian LI, gay side character, Cuban MC

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid– I agree with everyone that the moral ambiguity of Evelyn Hugo’s character is one of the most memorable parts of this story. I never came to like Evelyn, or any of the characters for that matter, but I could appreciate how morally grey and real they all were. Reid’s writing is good, but not great. And I’m sad that I didn’t love this as much as everyone else did, but I had always said prior to reading this book that my expectations for it were so high already that there was no way I wouldn’t get disappointed, and I was sadly proven right.

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4/5 stars. Rep: autistic MC, bi MC, lesbian MC, deaf characters

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant– I live tweeted my reading experience for this book! I’m also posting a review for this soon, so stay tuned. This book isn’t like anything I’ve ever read before.

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4/5 stars. Rep: probably non-binary main character (they cross dress!)

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang– This book was the saving grace of April and May because almost everything else I read was a three star, but this was a such a high four! Please read this so that you can bask in its cuteness. I promise you will not regret it. Goodreads review can be found here.

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3.5/5 stars. Rep: memoir of an Iranian author

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi– Yet another graphic novel I rated three stars. I think I’m gonna discontinue my goal of reading one graphic novel each month because I haven’t been enjoying almost all of them save The Prince and the Dressmaker. I also wrote a goodreads review for this, and I think I discuss all of my thoughts pretty well!

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4/5 stars. Rep: South Asian MC

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir– Before reading this book, I had lost almost all my faith in this series because A Torch Against the Night wasn’t that good, and I found Laia boring. Reading this completely proved me wrong because I remembered just why this series is so beloved–the author is so good at invoking emotions from her audience, and the world is so immersive and well-built. Laia and Elias forever! I wish I hadn’t read this via audio though for reasons stated in my goodreads review. (I know I’ve been plugging my goodreads a lot, but I’ve been trying to get better at consistently posting reviews and ratings there hehe.)

What Happened in the Months of April and May

I’ve been mentioning this a lot, but I went on a two-month Chinese language study tour to Xiamen, China. I had so much fun being independent and sightseeing in a foreign country, and going on the tour improved my Mandarin a lot. I also got to meet a lot of new friends, who I sadly had to bid farewell to at the end of the trip because we live in different parts of the Philippines, but I’m really grateful to the internet for helping me continue to keep in touch with them! The downside to going on that trip though was that I became perpetually tired due to having to wake up at 6am every morning for breakfast. My skin and sleep schedule were severely damaged.

Now that I’m back, I’ve been trying to make the most of my remaining summer by getting enough sleep, reading, blogging, and blog hopping, things I probably won’t be able to do once the school year starts, and I’m sad about having to go back on the third week of June, but I know people who went back on June 3 or 4, so it could be worse.

I also ummm.. got some physical books this month? If you know me, I primarily read ebooks because physical books are expensive, but National Bookstore hosted a bunch of summer sales this summer, plus my mom’s birthday was on May 29 so we got to get 20% off a few books from Fully Booked. I’m so happy to finally have some physical books to hold in my hands! I also won a few giveaways, and I’m so happy because I used to always despair over my lack of luck when it came to them, but all my retweeting has recently paid off. (A huge tip for winning giveaways is to enter as many as you can.) All this is to say that you can expect a book haul coming on the blog! Though I’m not sure how soon it will be since I’m still deciding whether I want to include the books I won in the giveaways, and I have no idea when those will arrive.

Lastly, I redesigned my blog! Remind me never to do so again because it was such a pain in the butt to plan out designs and draw them. I made dividers, a “let’s chat” graphic, and a graphic to sign off all my posts with. I’m also planning on using pictures of books I took in bookstores (yes I take pictures of books in bookstores to compensate for the fact that I can’t buy them) and pictures I’ll take of my book haul for my blog post headers!

Books I Want to Read in June

April was Autism Awareness Month and May was Asian Pacific Heritage Month, but in true slow reader fashion, I was still in the middle of a book with autism rep towards the end of May, so that effectively delayed all of the Asian reading I planned to do. Plus, I told my mom to buy a couple of Asian books during the sales, and I only got to see them in person when I arrived back home at the end of May. I also got some non-Asian non-queer books from the sales, and my mom will kill me if I don’t read them immediately, so I probably won’t get to read a lot of queer books in June for Pride Month. My (unrealistic) June TBR will feature the LGBTQ+ books I do hope to read alongside all the books I recently purchased.

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston– This is one of the most hyped 2019 releases, and I feel like everyone who’s read it has loved it. This follows the bisexual and biracial (Mexican and white) son of the first female president of the United States who falls in love with Prince Henry, a gay prince of England. I requested a copy of this book when I won a giveaway, so it might not arrive in time for Pride Month, but I’m hoping it will.

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Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake– Despite the improbability of it, I want to participate in two of the weekly Pride Month buddy reads hosted by Reads Rainbow. This is the one for week three, and it also happens to have been on my TBR since forever. It follows a bi girl named Mara whose brother is accused of raping her best friend. I’m pretty sure her love interest is non-binary too!

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I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver– I’ve read a couple of books with non-binary rep in the past, but they were always side characters. This is the first book I’ll read, of hopefully many more to come, that will feature a non-binary character as its protagonist. It’s own voices for the non-binary rep, and I believe that the love interest is bisexual! This is also the Reads Rainbow week four buddy read, which means that school will probably be in full swing by the time I have to read this, so I’m praying that I’ll still be able to get to it!

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These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling– Since this TBR has so far included a m/m romance, gq/m romance and gq/f romance, I had to include a f/f one. I’ve read the first two pages of this already and it seems like it’s gonna be good! I’m so here for gay witches!!

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Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman– WAIT–before you start yelling a me that I can’t possibly read all of these books in June, I know that it’s unrealistic to include this on top of everything else, but I realized that I didn’t have any books with ace/aro rep in this TBR, and we love inclusion in this house, so I’m including this! I don’t know much about SBB, but I know it has Asian and Pacifika rep, and the protagonist is questioning ace/aro. Plus, a lot of people absolutely love this book!

In line with all of my past TBRs, this one is extremely ambitious, especially since I only read a couple books a month, but I’m hoping to make the most of my remaining summer break. I can always just read all the queer books I want to in July or the rest of the year instead since I do read diversely all year round!

This was a really long post that took double the time to write because more than half of my work was deleted while I was drafting rip. I hate it so much when that happens. But I enjoyed writing this post for the most part, and you are truly a saint for sticking until the end!

How were the months of April and May for you? Favorite book you read in each of those months? What do you plan to read in June?

39 thoughts on “April + May Wrap-up (3-Star Ratings Galore) & An Unrealistic June TBR

  1. Ahh I’m SO glad you enjoyed We Set The Dark On Fire, I had such an incredible time reading this book. I also really want to get to The Prince and the Dressmaker now, as well as A Reaper At The Gates : I enjoyed A Torch Against the Night, but haven’t felt… emotionally ready to tackle on that next book just yet hahhaa 🙂
    I hope you will love Red, White and Royal Blue, I recently finished reading it and I loved it so much!! ❤
    I hope you'll have a lovely June! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Marie!! Sabaa Tahir is incredibly good at making her characters suffer, so that is very understandable haha! I hope I do too, but it’s currently unavailable on book Depository & sold out everywhere so I’m pretty salty about that :(. I’ll wait though! I hope you have a lovely June as well 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. if you’re looking for more QPOC books, I recently read and loved It’s Not Like It’s a Secret! the main relationship is between a Japanese-American girl and a Mexican-American girl, and it has terrific rep – though it’s YA contemporary, and I know that’s not everyone’s thing haha.

    honestly I wasn’t blown away by Girls of Paper and Fire either, which seems like a bit of an unpopular opinion? the premise and rep are terrific, but I thought it was a bit lacking in development … which probably won’t stop me from reading the sequel though; my completionist tendencies are an ongoing struggle 😅

    sleep deprivation and jet lag are such a struggle (I deal with a three-hour difference every time I fly between home and my university, which is *just enough* to throw me off) so I hope you get reacclimated soon! it sucks that you have to be back in school so soon, but I hope the rest of your summer is productive and fun 💕

    I read a lot of backlist books while I was doing Asian Lit Bingo last month, so for June I’m hoping to get ahead on some ARCs in addition to my Pride reads – which does have a lot of overlap since I tend to seek out diverse books now, so it’s not as bad as it could be? but I can relate to having a too-ambitious TBR, half my reading-tracker spreadsheet is a very long list of books that I want to read “soon” but may not actually get to for a while, oops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve seen the cover of It’s Not Like It’s a Secret, but forgot about it 😅 but you make it sound so good that I’m very excited to pick it up! I’m a fantasy gal, but I like some contemporaries in between so it’s fine!

      Same to all of this!! That’s exactly why I just gave it three stars. Omg the completionist tendencies, I relate so much. I also have severe fomo & everyone has been hyping the sequel so much that I don’t want to miss out on the fun 😭😂 Plus, I’m still holding out hope that the sequel is better!

      Aw man, that’s pretty rough! Hope you’re not too thrown off though! Same, why can’t summer last forever? 😭 it’s turning to be though thank you!

      That’s amazing! I suck at finally getting to backlist books, & I’m actually hoping to theme one of my TBRs around them these days! I hope you read all the books you want to in June and hooray for unrealistic tbrs! 💛💛💛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Red, White & Royal Blue as well as I Wish You All the Best were fantastic reads! I hope you get to read them in June and enjoy them as much as I did 🙂 I found some books for my own TBR in this massive list, too ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That sucks that you read so many 3-star books these last few months. But I’m so glad you liked The Prince and the Dressmaker! That book is so adorable 😀

    Not to hype it up more than it already has been, but Red White and Royal Blue is AMAZING and I’ve been screaming about it to anyone who will listen. Also, I’m reading I Wish You All the Best right now and LOVING it! And I’m also planning to read Summer Bird Blue this June…if I can get to it…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it does, but I’ve been enjoying most of my June books so far surprisingly, so yay!! It is!!

      Lol it’s okay! Glad to hear that & I hope a copy will be available soon! I’m so happy that you’re liking I Wish You All the Best because I’ve heard some not great things, but I’m excited to read it nonetheless. Lol that “if I can get to it” that Is a MOOD with all of my tbrs. I hope we can both get to it though 🤞🏼🤞🏼

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  5. I’m so happy you enjoyed We Set the Dark on Fire! I’m reading it right now and I haven’t read enough of it to really form an opinion yet, but I do have to say I’m a bit confused as to what is going on (though I expect it’ll be cleared up as I get further into the book!) The writing is beautiful though, for sure ❤ And I really hope you love Girl Made of Stars and RW&RB!! Those are two of my favorites and definitely both beautiful reads 💖 Good luck on your TBR for June!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah I definitely get that. Though the writing was really good, there were some inconsistencies to it that made me give it a four instead of five. Hope you end up enjoying the rest though! Yes I’ve heard the best things about them! Thanks and good luck to you too ❤️

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  6. I loved summer bird blue btw. You should read it if you ever get that far on your tbr haha

    I’ve read a bunch of awesome books lately but favourite book of last month was Warchild. And April was a tie between seven ways we lie and the spy with the red balloon…. A scifi, a contemporary and a historical fantasy 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m gonna try my best because I really think I’m gonna love it!

      I haven’t heard about a book called Warchild before? Am definitely gonna check it out now! I’ve heard of Seven Ways We Lie & The Spy with the Red Balloon, but I haven’t really added them to my TBR. I really have to now! It sounds like you had great reading months 💖

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  7. We Set the Dark on Fire was SO GOOD ahh I’m so glad you enjoyed! And omg yes the hype for Evelyn Hugo is intimidating me right now, I’m so sorry to hear it fell short for you ahh 😭 I also really want to read I Wish You All the Best and These Witches Don’t Burn!! They seem so good and it’s perfect for Pride Month ahh 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really really want to get to I Wish You All the Best this month, I should really get around to ordering it at some point lol. I hope you enjoy RWRB, I know that I literally never shut up about it these days, but it is so good and I love it! I just started my first of what I am sure will be many rereads.

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    1. I hope you get to read it and that you enjoy it!! Don’t worry, the fact that you always scream about it really gets me hyped to read it. It’s just so hard to find a copy somewhere because the book is a bestseller and it’s sold out everywhere :((

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  9. April and May have been so hectic! With so many review deadlines, and posts to write, and school deadlines to meet, I’ve been read of my feet! I’d have to say that over the two day period, I love Please Send Help the most! I Hate Everyone but U was so good and the sequel was no disappointment! I’m hoping to read Aurora Rising and Broken Throne this month 🙂
    -Emma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely relate! It was like that for me soon at the end of February when I started this blog because summer was just around the corner and school year was at its most hectic. I hope you get to rest though 💛 Oh I’ve heard of those! Will check them out more :>> Those two sound super good too and I hope you enjoy them!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok I’m actually kinda jealous that you got to reread Cassie Clare’s books because it’s been a goal of mine to reread The Shadowhunter Chronicles & finally get caught up with her books for so long! Like I wanna know why everyone raves about TDA & I want to understand every single Easter she leaves in her books! I’m actually planning to dedicate a whole month or two to catching up on her books lmao. I hope you enjoyed rereading them!! I think they count as read books though ❤️❤️

      YAYY I’m so so glad because both both sound so amazing & I’m so excited to read them! I hope we love both of them!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was my third time rereading The Infernal Devices and I loved them as much as when I first read them! It was my second time reading TMI and even though I love them TMI is my least favourite of her series. Also TDA is amazing and I highly recommend them!

        I’m just finished my current read so I think I’m going to pic up IWYATB now 🙂

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  10. Three star months are so hard. it’s like, they’re not all terrible, but they aren’t all greatness and then you’re just kind of stuck with a so-so month. Girl Made of Stars is a wonderful book – it brings so so so many emotions and kind of smashes them to pieces, but it is a wonderfully well written book. I’m so excited for These Witches Don’t Burn as well. I love witches in general, and when I heard there was f/f romance, I was allllllllllllllllllllllll here for it. I’ve seen a bit about Summer Bird Blue, but really only the cover and people’s love for it, so I totally need to go check it out. Wonderful wrap-up and TBR! Hopefully you have a far better June!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right! I feel like the year has actually been a 3-star year but I’m actually getting some four and five stars this June so I’m so happy!!

      Yes I’ve been so excited to read it! Everyone just *raves* about it and I wanna get in on the hype. Yeah I really do want witches to make a comeback. And the fact that it’s gay makes it so much better! I hope you do check it out! Thank you & I actually think I’m doing well in June 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve heard so many good things about We Set The Dark On Fire so I’m glad you enjoyed it– it is one I want to read as well.
    I know lots who love Girls Of Paper And Fire and again is one I would like to read and the cover for the sequel is amazing!! It’s a shame you didn’t love it as much as everyone else.
    I would like to try more graphic novels– Monstress sounds interesting and I did like The Poppy War so I’m tempted. The Prince and The Dressmaker looks adorable– the cover is so cute. I will have to read that was as well!!
    I’m glad you enjoyed A Reaper At The Gates— I’ve read the first 2 in this series and need to read the 3rd. I didn’t enjoy the second as much as the first so I’m glad you said the third was better than the second.
    Well done on winning some giveaways– YAY!! And your TBR for June looks great– I hope you get to read them all!! And hopefully Red, White and Royal Blue arrives ASAP– I’ve heard so many good things and is one I want to read as well!! 🙂
    I hope you have a great June!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you love We Set the Dark on Fire when you get around to reading it!
      I definitely think that I’m in the minority with Girls of Paper and Fire, so I don’t think you have to worry too much. I love the cover so much, and that’s honestly part of the reason why I decided to continue on with the series lmao.
      Monstress does have a lot of fans so I think you should try it. It has an interesting story and world. And I feel like it’s as brutal as The Poppy War! The Prince and the Dressmaker is just the most adorable book ever that will put a smile on your face!
      Yeah, A Torch Against the Night was a little bit of a let-down for me too, but I found that the third book was better, but maybe it was because I went in with low expectations? Would actually recommend going into it with that!
      Thanks! I was so shocked that I actually won them! Same, I’m anxiously waiting for a physical copy of RWRB to arrive at my doorstep. I hope you enjoy all of these books!!And I wish you a lovely June too ❤❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh you are hurting me a little with this month’s wrap up – I’ll try not to boo too loud 😛 LOL I am excited that you loved We Set the Dark on Fire though because I’m about to start that one and Tehlor is so lovely. I’m super excited and I think I’ll totally love it!!!

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  13. Caitlin, is it okay that I’m commenting on this post after FOUR HUNDRED YEARS because life has been crazy lately? Hope you’re okay with that!
    I also see you changed your layout and it looks adorable! (Totally relate with what you said btw about “taking pictures of books in bookstores because I can’t really afford them, lol). It’s inspiring me to change my layout as well!
    First of all: I relate SO MUCH with what you said about Seven Husbands. I had such high expectations for that book, I don’t know there is any book who would ever live up to them. It wasn’t a bad book, but the hype definitely didn’t help. I felt like I spend a lot of it just waiting and waiting for it to get really good, and even when it did, it felt like it was already too late.
    I’m glad you enjoyed A Reaper at the Gates, though! It’s a book I’ve been anticipating for a long time now, but it has yet to get translated into Portuguese so I can pick it up, since I want it to match the rest of the series. If it takes much longer, I’ll read it in English anyway, because I’m way too anxious to continue on, hahah.
    Hope you’ve had a great month since this wrap up! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. NO LAIS IT’S FINE IM SO HAPPY WHENEVER YOU COMMENT ON MY BLOG. 💓💓💓
      Yay, thank you so much! It feels like my blog is more “me” now and it’s definitely not as horrendous as it was before. Seriously, newbie blogger me was trying, but she was failing. I’ve also figured out so many new design tricks AND CAN U BELIEVE THAT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEMES WERE UNTIL ABOUT 3 MONTHS AFTER I STARTED BLOGGING??
      Ahh, yay, I’m so glad to see that it’s inspired you! Whatever you do, I KNOW I’ll love it 🥰
      LAIS YOU STOLE THE WORDS OUT OF MY BRAIN. yeah, the whole time I was reading Evelyn Hugo, I was just thinking “when do I fall in love with this” and that really ruined it for me ultimately. I think that if I had gone into it with zero expectations i would’ve had a chance of absolutely loving it.
      Yes, I’m so glad as well! The audiobook route was not a great choice though because I’m the worst audiobooks listener whose mind always drifts off. I hope it gets translated soon, but if you decide to read it in English, I’m rooting for you 💗💗
      I did have a great month, and I hope you did as well!

      Liked by 1 person

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