Best Of… March 2018 @StMartinsPress @bookouture

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. So this is me giving those favorites their well deserved extra attention! In March, there was no new 5 star read, but I had a whopping seven! titles with an almost perfect rating! I’m going to be honest here and I was really close to cheating and just name all of them my favorite, but in the end I decided not to take the easy way out. So without further delay, March 2018’s favorite was… *drumroll*

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Hinton!! I was a really tough call, but after careful consideration it was this moving memoir that stood a little out over the rest of the titles.

What I said in my review:

“Powerful, infuriating, heartbreaking and with a dose of hope and forgiveness… The Sun Does Shine is one of the best true crime memoirs I have read to this date, and his story will stay with me for a long time.”

“The pure injustice of it all makes you want to scream, but both his case and experience is very well documented in this memoir and makes for a painful, but inspiring, intriguing and very powerful read. I’m truly impressed by his views on life and his ability to be able to forgive the unforgivable.”

Click here for my full review


Six other titles were given a 4,5 star rating last month, and it simply has been extremely hard to bring down that number further. In the end, I felt four titles stood out a tiny bit above the other two. The two titles not mentioned are still excellent reads and deserve all the praise! But this post is getting too long as it is, so I had to make tough choices… And with no further delay, honorable mentions go to the following four titles:

What I said in my review:

The Child Next Door is psychological thriller at its best. Just the right amount of tension, a rich plot and a healthy dose of twists and false leads, but also well rounded characters and a pace that is just right.”

“I was left staring open-mouthed at the last page because I just couldn’t believe what I just read.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“This newest installment has exactly the same high quality of writing, plot development, twists and the healthy dose of suspense and action I have become used to with this series. ”

“Fast-paced, suspenseful, intense and highly entertaining: Deadly Secrets and the DCI Erika Foster series in general is a must-read for detective thriller fans!”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“Boy, it was one heck of a ride… I found myself hooked from the moment I started reading, and this had a lot to do with the writing style.”

“The premise of The Good Twin is fantastic, and the execution without doubt lives up to expectations.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“I absolutely adored this story! I was in desperate need of something fun and entertaining to read and this book worked like magic.”

“The writing style is engaging, easy to read and has just the right pace to allow for well developed characters and an interesting plot.”

Click here for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in March?


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Month In Review: March 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact it’s Autumn already… How on earth has the season already changed when it still feels like January? I’m happy the heatwaves are over though; I don’t like the cold, but I think I prefer it over the 35+°C temperatures. xD March was a pretty good month, I had to celebrate I’m no longer in my twenties (o.O) and we had lots of fun during the Easter weekend. The second half of March has been all about starting to plan our Europe trip and I’ve been working on a new crochet project as well… I was making a throw, but I ran out of yarn and they don’t sell the color I need anymore (how did that happen?!?), so I dropped the project for now. I started making these crochet cactus plants instead and I’m totally hooked! They are so fun and easy to make and it’s been hard to stop haha.

Bookish wise March was an excellent month with no less than 20 books read! I still don’t know how I made this number, especially since I had 0 reading time during the Easter long weekend… But I’m not complaining. 😉

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in March: 20
  • Total number of books read this year: 57
  • Total number of pages read in March: 6.377
  • Total number of pages read this year: 17.848

I somehow managed to read a lot last month, and even though I didn’t get another 5 star read, a whopping seven books were given an almost perfect rating. In fact, I seemed to have enjoyed at least half of my reads! I did get my first DNF of the year and a couple of other lower ratings, but overall I’m quite happy with last month. That and the fact I’ve been able to make a proper dent in my pile of ARCs.

MARCH READS

4.5 STARS: This one was almost perfect. Surely fantastic! 

My Sweet Friend – by H.A. Leuschel // No Safe Place – by Patricia Gibney // The Sun Does Shine – by Anthony Ray Hinton // The Child Next Door – by Shalini Boland // Cocktails And Dreams – by A.L. Michael // Deadly Secrets – by Robert Bryndza // The Good Twin – by Marti Green

4 STARS: Wow, this was really good. Close to amazing!

With Malice – by Eileen Cook // Salt To The Sea – by Ruta Sepetys // Ready Player One – by Ernest Cline

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

Lies That Bind – by Diana Rodriguez Wallach // The Girl With No Name – by Lisa Regan // Wing Jones – by Katherine Webber

3 STARS: It was a nice read, but not fantastic. 

The Art Of Fear – by Pamela Crane // The Silent Kookaburra – by Liza Perrat

2.5 STARS: I give this one the benefit of the doubt. Nothing too exciting.

Wink Poppy Midnight – by April Genevieve Tucholke // The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter – by Julia Drosten

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

The Last Star – by Rick Yancey // My Sister’s Keeper – by Jodi Picoult

0 STARS (DNF): I didn’t even bother to finish this one. Absolutely and totally horrible!

Graffiti Palace – by A.G. Lombardo


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year so far, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. Things are going way better than thought though… And I was able to finished the planned goal of ARCs after only three months! I won’t be setting a new goal though, as I will be trying to read more of my own books now. The Beat The Backlist challenge is going way better than planned as well without even trying, so I’m confident I will make that one. I really need to start reading some classics for the Reading Through The Centuries challenge though.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… I managed to finish another series, which means I need to finish just one last series to make that goal. I also managed to add two new titles to my list of foreign authors/translations… Note: I’m calling authors international when they were born in a non-English country (AKA UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, you get the idea). As for the rest of them: the classics and rereading will have to wait until I have more time, but I’m hoping to at least squeeze in a Dutch read before the end of our Europe trip. My running sadly is still on hold since my knee keeps bothering me, but I’m hoping to strenghten it enough with speedwalking sessions to be able to start running soonish.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 classics (rereads don’t count) 0/3
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) 4/5 (The Conspiracy Of Us, Bad Girls Don’t Die, Embassy Row, The 5th Wave)
  • Reread at least 2 books 0/2
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way390/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (maximum 528 pages)
  • Read at least 1 book in Spanish 0/1
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read more international authors/translations (at least 10) 6/10 (Stage Four (The Netherlands)/ Born A Crime (South Africa)/ Halfway (India)/ A Castle In Romagna (Croatia)/ My Sweet Friend (Belgium)/ The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter (Germany))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 4/5
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 95%
  • Reach 5km running! 2000m/5000m

Happy April and Happy Reading! 


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Best Of… February 2018 @bookouture @GrandCentralPub

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. So this is me giving those favorites their well deserved extra attention! In February, there was a clear winner even though I had a lot of other good titles as well. But nothing beats a full 5 star rating right? 😉 I don’t think my pick will come as a surprise, but here we go… Without further delay, February 2018’s favorite was… *drumroll*

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter!! I had been wanting to read this one for ages, and now I finally did, I’ve become an instant fan of her work. She blew me away with this one!!

What I said in my review:

“WOW! That woman can write… It was without doubt a highly intense read with a lot of complicated, disturbing scenes and elements. The plot is well developed, intense, rich and will take you on a very emotional ride.”

“There is no denying the story and it’s many subplots, twists and turns are brilliantly executed and I take my hat off for it.”

Click here for my full review


Honorable mentions go to the following two titles:

What I said in my review:

“This newest title has the same high quality of writing and plot development I have become used to associating with her work. The Visitor is psychological thriller at its best!”

“The final plot twists and reveals basically left me speechless and I don’t think anyone would have been able to guess it all. I just love with when a story manages to surprise me!”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

Barbed Wire Heart isn’t just a drug inspired criminal story where two different families are taking it up against each other. It’s so much more. And it’s without doubt one hell of a ride.”

” It’s a trigger-happy crime story with a high dose of girl power, adrenaline, action, a splash of family drama and plot twists that you won’t see coming. From the writing style to the underlying feminist message, the originality of the plot and the excellent character development… This story simply blew me away.”

Click here for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in February?


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Month In Review: February 2018

I just can’t wrap my head around the fact it’s my birthday month already… Where did the first two months of 2018 go? February was quite a good month despite the hot weather, although I guess I shouldn’t complain about the weather at all and enjoy it while it lasts. 😉 Lots of fun things happened during February, including a trip which kind of turned into a ‘baby-hopping’ visit to see a few of our friends and their little ones. I’ve also started a new crochet project; a throw this time! Ah, and remember little Delilah Bard? She isn’t so little anymore and celebrated her first birthday last month!

As far as reading and blogging goes, I’m happy to announce the stubborn reading and blogging slump has stayed away for another month and hopefully will never come back. I’m hiding garlic in corners just in case. 😉 I somehow managed to keep right on schedule with my current reviews as well, which is kind of scary since I still have that feeling I should have some pending review hiding somewhere haha. But I love that it’s taking away a lot of the stress. Another thing you might have noticed I haven’t been bloghopping, commenting, on social media as often as before the slump. As much as I love doing those things, I’ve decided to let life come first and put a limit to those elements to keep me sane. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you! I’m just a little behind with those things. ❤

February was a good month with no less than 15 books finished and my very first 5 star read of the year! Ratings were high in general with only three books having a 3 star rating or below.

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in February: 15
  • Total number of books read this year: 37
  • Total number of pages read in February: 4.935
  • Total number of pages read this year: 11.471

I didn’t get a new 5 star read this year, but that doesn’t surprise me that much since I don’t hand out the full rating a lot. No less than 10 books were rated 4 stars or above though, something I’m quite happy with. And only three titles received a rating below 3 stars! Not bad at all. Also, the Lilac Girls buddy read with Nicki @ Secret Library was a big success.

FEBRUARY READS

5 STARS: Absolutely and entirely mind blowing! I suggest you to pick up a copy now. 

The Good Daughter – by Karin Slaughter

4.5 STARS: This one was almost perfect. Surely fantastic! 

The Visitor – by K.L. Slater // Barbed Wire Heart – by Tess Sharpe

4 STARS: Wow, this was really good. Close to amazing!

The Lot Of A Nobody – by Dave Johnston // Black Heart – by Anna-Lou Weatherley // Hollo – by Devon Michael // Lilac Girls – by Martha Hall Kelly // What Blooms From Dust – by James Markert

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

As Dead As It Gets – by Katie Alender // The Art Of French Kissing – by Brianna R. Shrum // Proof Of Lies – by Diana Rodriguez Wallach // All Things Bright And Strange – by James Markert

3 STARS: It was a nice read, but not fantastic. 

Wires And Nerve – by Marissa Meyer

2.5 STARS: I give this one the benefit of the doubt. Nothing too exciting.

Take The Key And Lock Her Up – by Ally Carter

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

A Castle In Romagna – by Igor Stiks


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year so far, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. Things are going way better than thought though… And I was able to both cross off a lot of ARCs and read a bunch of books for the Beat The Backlist challenge.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… I managed to finish two more series, bringing the total up to three! And I finished another one this month already, so this goal is going way better than planned. I managed to add another international author as well, which I’m really happy about. Note: I’m calling authors international when they were born in a non-English country (AKA UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, you get the idea). As for the rest of them: the classics and rereading will have to wait until I have more time, but I’m hoping to at least squeeze in a Dutch read by next month. The challenges I will probably complete whenever I can participate in the next BoB read-a-thon… And as far as running goes: I’m having a bout of bad luck with injuries, so I haven’t really been able to exercise much until recently. Fingers crossed my knee/ankle will stop messing with me this month so I can keep trying to get back on track!

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 classics (rereads don’t count) 0/3
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) 3/5 (The Conspiracy Of Us, Bad Girls Don’t Die, Embassy Row)
  • Reread at least 2 books 0/2
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way400/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (maximum 528 pages)
  • Read at least 1 book in Spanish 0/1
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read more international authors/translations (at least 10) 3/10 (Stage Four (The Netherlands)/ Born A Crime (South Africa)/ Halfway (India)/ A Castle In Romagna (Croatia))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 4/5
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 92%
  • Reach 5km running! 2000m/5000m

Happy March and Happy Reading! 


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Best Of… January 2018 @Orendabooks @bookouture @AndrewsMcMeel

I had originally decided to include this new feature in my monthly wrap ups, but I just felt there were too many facts squeezed into one little post and the whole purpose of putting my favorite reads in the spotlight was lost. Because as the title already suggests, I will be doing a special post from now on mentioning my absolute favorite read for each month… Always tricky since every month seems to have various serious contenders, but we’ll see how things will go. In January, there are actually four titles I could call a winner here, and it has been hard to pick just one favorite, especially since there are three different genres here and I loved each book for a different reason. I considered cheating and name more than one as my winner, but that wouldn’t be a good way to start this feature right? 😉 So, without further delay, January 2018’s favorite was… *drumroll*

Deep Blue Trouble by Steph Broadribb!! It was a tough call, but kick ass bounty hunter Lori Anderson has won the prize. What I said in my review:

“WOW. What a firecracker of a thriller! Between the writing style, premise and characters this book had me under its spell shortly after starting it and I had a blast reading this action-packed and fast-paced thriller.”

“Bounty hunter Lori Anderson seriously kicks ass and isn’t afraid to step on a few toes to get the results she is after. The writing is strong, filled with plot twists and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page…”

Click here for my full review


Honorable mentions go to the following three titles (yes, I couldn’t just NOT mention these, because each of them deserves all the praise as well):

What I said in my review:

Keep Her Safe was one heck of a thriller with so many intense moments I found it impossible to stop reading. I practically devoured this story and its many plot twists and the final part of Keep Her Safe definitely had some jaw droppingly fierce moments.”

Click here for my full review

What I said in my review:

“Not only did I instantly connect with her style of poetry and the way she expresses herself, but I could also relate to some of the topics she discusses in her poems. Powerful, enchanting, inspiring and so well represented in both the words and format of her work!”

Click here for my full review


What I said in my review:

Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. “

“Honest, heartbreaking, funny, engaging and gripping… Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget. “

Click her for my full review


Have you read any of these titles above? What did you think of them? What were your favorite reads in January?


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Month In Review: January 2018

Wait, what? How do you mean it’s already time to wrap up the first month of 2018? I feel like I have been pushed into a time machine and shoved back out in February… Where did January go? It’s 200% summer down here right now and we’ve had various 35+°C heatwaves… I’m actually melting as I’m trying to put together this post right now. I hate the winter months, but I’m starting to seriously reconsider my opinion… Anyone wants to trade? xD It did mean it was a great month to go kayaking, so it wasn’t all bad haha.

I can also officially announce I’ve beaten my most stubborn reading and blogging slump ever and I’m finally fully back in action! I managed to get rid of not only my backlog reviews, but I’m also completely on schedule with my current reviews! It is kind of scary not having pending posts lurking behind my shoulder haha. It does take way a lot of the stress though, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I’ll be able to keep it this way. I’ve also more or less fully returned to Twitter, something I’ve been missing during my slump. Instagram and Litsy will have to wait a while longer, because I don’t want to overdo it with the social media for now.

Somehow January ended up being a superstrong month with no less than 22 books finished… Although a few of these were either short or superfast reads. Like I said before, I’m right on schedule with my reviews, mostly thanks to my Yvo’s Shorties feature helping me get rid of the backlog. You will definitely see more of this feature on It’s All About Books!

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in January: 22
  • Total number of books read this year: 22
  • Total number of pages read in January: 6.536
  • Total number of pages read this year: 6.536

I didn’t get a new 5 star read this year, but that doesn’t surprise me that much since I don’t hand out the full rating a lot. No less than 10 books were rated 4 stars or above though, something I’m quite happy with. And only three titles received a rating below 3 stars! Not bad at all.

JANUARY READS

4.5 STARS: This one was almost perfect. Surely fantastic! 

Keep Her Safe – by Richar Parker // Deep Blue Trouble – by Steph Broadribb // The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One – by Amanda Lovelace // Born A Crime – by Trevor Noah

4 STARS: Wow, this was really good. Close to amazing!

The Bunker Diary – by Kevin Brooks // The Tattooist Of Auschwitz – by Heather Morris // The Hating Game – by Sally Thorne // The Silent Girls – by Dylan Young // Vanishing Girls – by Lisa Regan // The Camera Lies – by AB Morgan // Station Eleven – by Emily St. John Mandel

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

The New Hunger – by Isaac Marion // Stage Four – by Sander Kollaard // Best Friends – by Carys Jones

3 STARS: It was a nice read, but not fantastic. 

Life In Outer Space – by Melissa Keil // Her Last Lie – by Amanda Brittany // The Ends Of The World – by Maggie Hall // From Bad To Cursed – by Katie Alender // Under Rose-Tainted Skies – by Louise Gornall

2.5 STARS: I give this one the benefit of the doubt. Nothing too exciting.

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo – by Amy Schumer // Unclean Spirits – by Chuck Wendig

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

Halfway – by Lokesh Sharma


I haven’t joined a lot of challenges this year so far, mostly because I decided to focus more on ‘fun’ reading and less on goals I have to complete. Things are going way better than thought though, mostly because I finally did recover fully from my slump… And I was able to both cross off a lot of ARCs and read a bunch of books for the Beat The Backlist challenge.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals… I managed to get started by completing my first series and read already three! international authors, which I’m really happy about. Note: I’m calling authors international when they were born in a non-English country (AKA UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, you get the idea). As for the rest of them: the classics and rereading will have to wait until I have more time, but I’m hoping to at least squeeze in a Dutch read by next month. The challenges I will probably complete whenever I can participate in the next BoB read-a-thon… And as far as running goes: I’m having a bout of bad luck with injuries, so I haven’t really been able to exercise much. Fingers crossed my knee/ankle will stop messing with me this month so I can slowly try and get back on track!

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 3 classics (rereads don’t count) 0/3
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) 1/5 (The Conspiracy Of Us)
  • Reread at least 2 books 0/2
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 300 books and keep it that way389/300
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages 0/1 (maximum 442 pages)
  • Read at least 1 book in Spanish 0/1
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch 0/1
  • Read more international authors/translations (at least 10) 3/10 (Stage Four (The Netherlands)/ Born A Crime (South Africa)/ Halfway (India))
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year 4/5
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 96%
  • Reach 5km running! 2000m/5000m

Happy February and Happy Reading! 


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MONTH IN REVIEW: October-December 2017

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts… Blame the slump monster. xD I’ve decided to do a short wrap up post of the last three months of 2017 together instead of three different posts and then start 2018 fresh… And I’m keeping my fingers crossed the slump monster will never make its appearance again!

As for the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in October-December: 24
  • Total number of books read this year: 189
  • Total number of pages read in October-December: 8.263
  • Total number of pages read this year: 63.309

During the last three months I had good reads, bad reads and quite a few in between… Since I still have quite a few reviews pending (although the Yvo’s Shorties feature is helping me catch up quicker than anticipated), I will be doing the next part a bit different and just list the titles I managed to read according to their rating.


5 STARS: Absolutely and entirely mind blowing! I suggest you to pick up a copy now. 

4.5 STARS: This one was almost perfect. Surely fantastic! 

4 STARS: Wow, this was really good. Close to amazing!

  • DEC 28th: Still Alice –  by Lisa Genova  (4/5)
  • DEC 19th: The Silent Children – by Carol Wyer  (4/5)
  • NOV 14th: Fragments Of The Lost – by Megan Miranda  (4/5)
  • OCT 24th: The Lost Child – by Patricia Gibney  (4/5)
  • OCT 20th: Bird Box – by Josh Malerman  (4/5)
  • OCT 14th: Hide And Seek – by M.J. Arlidge  (4/5)

3.5 STARS: Great read. Really entertaining!

  • DEC 3rd: Herding Cats – by Sarah Andersen  (3,5/5)
  • OCT 23rd: The Invisible Man – by H.G. Wells  (3,5/5)
  • OCT 21st: Things I Should Have Known – by Claire LaZebnik  (3,5/5)

3 STARS: It was a nice read, but not fantastic. 

2.5 STARS: I give this one the benefit of the doubt. Nothing too exciting.

2 STARS: It was ok. But mostly ‘meh’.

 


Call it a miracle, but somehow I managed to complete nearly all my 2017 Reading Challenges in time!! The last two (Reading Through The Centuries and 2017 When Are You Reading) were a close call since I finished Utopia on the 31st, but finished is finished right? 😉 The tricky V and X prevented me from completing the Alphabet Soup challenge though… I had various titles ready for the first, but just didn’t have time to squeeze them all in before the end of the year.

# CHALLENGES #

As for my other goals…I managed to complete at least most of my reading goals, which I’m quite happy about, because I had basically already given up on the TBR pile goal in the first place haha. I really have to focus on my Spanish reads this year though! And my running, which I have been slacking with A LOT during 2017, although it was partly due to some minor injuries that prevented me from running. I’m feeling 2018 is going to be my year though.

# OTHER READING/BLOGGING GOALS #

  • Read at least 5 classics (rereads don’t count) DONE 5/5 (The Color Purple, Little Women, The Jungle Book, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, Flowers For Algernon)
  • Complete at least 5 series (rereads don’t count) DONE 5/5 (Shades Of Magic, The Dominion Trilogy, Confessions, Chaos Walking, The Monsters Of Verity)
  • Reread at least 3 books DONE 3/3 (The Perfect Stranger, This Savage Song, The Diary Of A Young Girl)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 250 books 362/250
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages DONE, IT (1.478 pages)
  • Read at least 2 books in Spanish 1/2
  • Read at least 1 book in Dutch DONE 1/1
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year
  • Keep my Netgalley ratio above the 80% currently at 98%
  • Start a Twitter account and use it regularly
  • Reach 5km running! 2000m/5000m

Happy January and Happy Reading! 


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