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Thread: 2016 Reading Challenge

  1. #1
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    2016 Reading Challenge

    My daughter posted a link to this blog on Facebook, and I think it's as nifty a challenge as any.

    The 2016 Reading Challenge

    Basically, you have to read one different book from each of 12 categories during 2016.

    Mine are (or might be):

    Book published this year: The Caine Prize for African Fiction anthology, due out in July
    Book I can finish in a day: I'm tempted to dig out an old Judy Blume middle grade title that I never read, such as Blubber or Are you there God? It's me, Margaret
    Book I've been meaning to read: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg.
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich
    Book I should have read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: Hmmm, I'll have to leave that one pending for now
    Book banned at some point: Beloved by Toni Morrison
    Book I previously abandoned: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
    Book I own but have never read: 1000 Acres by Jane Smiley
    Book that intimidates me: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving (just because it's long)
    Book I've read already at least once: The Once and Future King by T.H. White

    Pretty tall order, as I'm a slow reader and I have a busy year ahead of me.

    How about you?

    ETA: Throughout the year, feel free to post your progress and discuss your books here.
    Last edited by Chris P; 01-01-2016 at 07:59 PM.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  2. #2
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Interesting idea... though I'd have to skip or fudge a category or two. (My loved ones don't recommend books, generally... though I do have a bent paperback of Never Cry Wolf that my wolf-loving sister used to own, currently flattening under other books in the pile, that I'd been meaning to read before sending it off to a Little Free Library somewhere. Wonder if that would count. And my uncle got me one for Xmas that I didn't ask for, but which could be interesting.)

    I'll consider specific titles and edit if I can nail them down.

    ETA: Working on the list, a little at a time...

    Book published this year: Behind the Canvas by Alexander Vance (MG Fiction, a girl discovers that oil paintings are windows on another world) DONE
    Book I can finish in a day: Night of the Living Shark, by David Bischoff and Daniel Pinkwater (MG?/YA Fiction, a silly tale in the Daniel M. Pinkwater's Melvinge of the Megaverse series) The One And Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (Fiction, alien arrival triggers a new phase of humanity)
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA Fiction, a twist on fairy tales with a girl rescuing a sleeping boy from his glass coffin in the woods)
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, by George Orwell (Fiction, an allegory in which farm animals overthrow humans, thinking to build a better society)
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown (Nonfiction, the story of the American rowing team in the Berlin Olympics) DONE
    Book published before I was born: Watership Down, by Richard Adams (Fiction, rabbits struggle to establish a new home)
    Book banned at some point: TBA
    Book I previously abandoned: Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger (MG/YA Fiction, a paranormal/steampunk alt-history set in the world of Carriger's Soulless series) DONE
    Book I own but have never read: Wonderbook , by James Vandermeer (Nonfiction, a writing book that looks very different)
    Book that intimidates me: Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
    Book I've read already at least once: The Princess Bride, by William Goldman (Fiction, a "hot fairy tale"/tongue-in-cheek story of classic adventure and True Love, and basis for the popular move - I read it a very long time ago)
    Last edited by Brightdreamer; 03-15-2016 at 11:38 AM. Reason: Update list again
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  3. #3
    Reinventing Myself Scribhneoir's Avatar
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    Sounds like fun. I'll have to choose some books.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    That's a really interesting challenge. I'd love to do this!

    I'll post the rest of my list as I come up with it, but I already have a few in mind.

    Book Chosen by Loved One: Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
    Book You Can Finish in a Day: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
    Book You've Been Meaning to Read: Anna Karenina by Tolstoy
    Book You Should Have Read In School: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

  5. #5
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    I'd like to try this, too:

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: Guards! Guards! Terry Pratchett
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: The Private Lives of Birds, Bridget Stutchbury
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx

    The first one won't be released until September, so I'll have a wait before I can start that. On the other hand, I'm already halfway through the last one on the list.
    Last edited by mrsmig; 01-02-2016 at 03:59 AM.
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  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Personally, I'm really looking forward to the bookseller/librarian recommended one. That's going to be a fun conversation to have at my local SFF focused indie bookstore.

  7. #7
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Interesting choices, everyone!

    I read Childhoods End in high school. You got a good read ahead of you

    Anna Karenina and Pillars of the Earth? Awesome for not holding back on the challenge!

    Lots of books here I've not heard of. I look forward to hearing what you guys think and discovering new books.

    For my Book I can read in one day, I went with Max's Revenge: A Wedding, a Party, and a Plate of Dog Food Stew by Sally Gould. It's currently available for free on Bookbub.com for a limited time. I figured it's a good chance to take a chance on something new.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  8. #8
    Court Jester Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    There are no books I can finish in one day unless it's a children's picture book.
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    There are no books I can finish in one day unless it's a children's picture book.
    Mine's a YA graphic novel. I no longer have entire days to myself where I can read a book for "grown ups" in one sitting.

  10. #10
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    There are no books I can finish in one day unless it's a children's picture book.
    A picture book's still a book. (If you haven't yet read it, consider James Gurney's Dinotopia - great images, and a nice sense-of-wonder tale; more an extensively-illustrated story than a simple picture book. Or something like Kobi Yamada's What Do You Do With An Idea?, that explores an interesting concept: a child finds a little idea, and must decide what to do with it, and how to help it grow.)
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  11. #11
    Read faster, Auntie Sage! AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    I can't predict for 2016, but I'll fill it out for 2015:

    Book published this year: I read 36 books published in 2015, including 17 debuts
    Book I can finish in a day: George by Alex Gino, Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs, The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz, The One by Kiera Cass, Austenland by Shannon Hale (I read on planes a lot, though not all of these are a result of that)
    Book I've been meaning to read: Unhinged by A. G. Howard
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield
    Book I should have read in school: Lord of the Rings trilogy
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: Closest to this is LotR, though I bought it myself
    Book banned at some point: Normally I'd have Harry Potter on this, but I don't in 2015. Maybe LotR?
    Book I previously abandoned: Academ's Fury by Jim Butcher, Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
    Book I own but have never read: Sin by Shannon Riddle
    Book that intimidates me: LotR trilogy
    Book I've read already at least once: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, Cardturner by Louis Sachar, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, Princess Academy 1 & 2 and Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, The Selection & The One by Kiera Cass, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Liar by Justine Larbalestier, Splintered by A.G. Howard,
    Last edited by Sage; 01-02-2016 at 07:41 AM.
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  12. #12
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    That's why I chose a middle grade novel for the one to read in a day.

    I think graphic novels absolutely count. I haven't read many, but I enjoyed Craig Thompson's Goodbye Chunky Rice and the longer Blankets. Maus by Art Spiegelman is also excellent.
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  13. #13
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I finished, in a day, the book I could finish in a day: Max's Revenge: A Wedding, a Party, and a Plate of Dog Food Stew by Sally Gould. It was a pleasant read. Not as funny as I'd hoped but quite cute. A cautionary tale about getting too big for your britches in the revenge department too.

    I'm about 20 pages in to my book I've been meaning to read: City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. The language is clever without being over the top inaccessible. "In the broad and average middle of broad and average Long Island, . . ." and other little snippets work for me. The similes work for me too, which isn't always the case. The characters so far are likeable and interesting.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Last night I read my book I could finish in a day. Took me about as long as it took to make dinner. YA graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. It's got 3 characters that are all struggling with fitting in, and eventually come together. I chuckled in many parts, but it also packed a lot of emotional punch when it came to issues of cultural and personal identity. My only issue was that the resolution felt very rushed.

    Next up is my gift from a loved one, another graphic novel. It's also a memoir, which is very intriguing. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. (I'm totally reading all of my short books before I start trying to tackle some of the doorstoppers on my list.)

  15. #15
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Still haven't figured out my blanks (Book Published This Year, Book Recommended By Librarian/Store, Book Banned At Some Point, and Book That Intimidates Me, though I have a few candidates for the latter two), but I finished my Book I Previously Abandoned: Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger. Turned out rather meh; just not my cup of cocoa, though the author and the world are both rather popular. Just plain felt like it was trying to hard to be lightweight because it was a younger-YA book, for the most part.
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  16. #16
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    Good progress, guys!

    City on Fire is going slowly. I'm in the middle of moving (my stuff doesn't come until Wednesday!) so I'm distracted. But one thing is bordering on bothering me. The book takes place in the mid 70s, but the narrator uses terms that weren't around then, or didn't come into use until later. For example, the bouncer at the night club looks over the character as if he might be part of a secret terrorist cell. As far as I know, the term "terrorist cell" wasn't in use until after 9/11. Obviously a narrator could be telling the story at any time in history, but the way it's done here pulls me out of the (otherwise great) story now and then.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  17. #17
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    I'm about 1/3 into City on Fire. I'm really liking it, despite the author doing something I usually don't like: starting off with the plot, then flashing back for extended periods with backstory. City on Fire has about 100 pages of the main plot, followed by 200 pages of backstory. Sometimes this comes across as the writer having filled out character profiles, then after all that work feels the information MUST be included somewhere even if it only tells how the characters got to page 1. Why it's working for me is that the characters intersect in the backstory, and the backstory brings us up to the day the story opens.

    And it's not to late to start the challenge! No timelines at all.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  18. #18
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    I'll have to change my Book I Can Finish in a Day, as it took me two days to read the Pratchett (I can usually roar through a Discworld book in a day, but I was interrupted). I'll have to sub out another book. Meanwhile, I knocked one off the list and started on another.


    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: TBA
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: The Private Lives of Birds, Bridget Stutchbury STARTED
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing!
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas!



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  19. #19
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    May have to revise my Book I Can Read In A Day. Three chapters into Night of the Living Shark! is about all I can handle. Imagine the worst of Piers Anthony's most dated puns crossed with the relentless silliness of a D-grade Pratchett/Adams wannabe (as in, someone who read part of a chapter of each author and decided they could do that with their eyes closed - then tried it), then marinate it in the mall-centric culture of 1980's America and spice it with some blatant racism, and you might come close. It wasn't even written by Daniel M. Pinkwater (who, IIRC, could at least come up with a semi-coherent storyline), but by someone else using an idea he generated - someone who felt it necessary to repeat one chapter almost whole-hog, evidently too enchanted with its cleverness to suspect that the audience might not laugh at the same jokes twice. If I really, really pushed myself, I could read it, but not in a day; I'd need too many sanity breaks.

    Dang it. I'll see what else I can unearth...

    Though for the Book That Intimidates Me, I might actually break down and tackle Moby Dick this year.

    ETA - Picked and read a new Book I Can Read In A Day. Katherine Applegate's MG/YA tale The One And Only Ivan, a fictionalized take on the real-life Ivan the shopping mall gorilla. Very good book, deserving of its awards, with more going on than the seemingly simple tale might suggest. It has a lot to say about humanity's complicated relationship with (and blindness to) animals and their needs.
    Last edited by Brightdreamer; 01-29-2016 at 09:47 AM.
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  20. #20
    Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred Chris P's Avatar
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    How was Harpo Speaks? I enjoy that time period, and I know very little about the Marx Brothers or show biz in that era.

    Night of the Living Shark! sounds like it should have been fun. I think your review is more entertaining than the book, however.
    Join any time! Take the 2017 AW Reading Challenge. Pick 12 books from a list of topics and read/discuss with us throughout the year.

  21. #21
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    How was Harpo Speaks? I enjoy that time period, and I know very little about the Marx Brothers or show biz in that era.
    The first three-quarters of the book are delightful: Harpo's early years, his struggle to find his place in the brothers' act, their life on the vaudeville circuit and his friendship with Alexander Woollcott and other literary lights of pre-Depression America are all fascinating. The latter quarter is a bit self-congratulatory and name-droppy, but still interesting. Since Harpo jokes fairly frequently about his near-illiteracy, clearly co-author Rowland Barber had a lot to do with how the book is shaped, but it's got a fun, bouncy voice and I was rarely bored, even on the re-read.
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  22. #22
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    I decided on my new Book I Can Finish In A Day:

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: How To Get Dressed: A Costume Designer's Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit and Feel Amazing
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda Szabo
    Book recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: The Private Lives of Birds, Bridget Stutchbury ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing!
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas!



    My Website:
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    And the occasional Tweet.





  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Well, I'm off to a good start this year.

    The graphic novel memoir (Book Given By a Loved One) was pretty interesting. There were so many historical events going on and it was hard to remember who was who from panel to panel. It's hard to say whether or not the format was necessary to the storytelling, although some of the illustrations were funny/horrifying/poignant. I definitely learned a lot about 1980's Iran.

    For my Book I Already Own I read Queen Hereafter, which is a historical fiction about Margaret of Scotland. The obligatory name soup in the beginning was a little overwhelming, but in the end it was a compelling story. A real life Beauty and the Beast story. This was also the first time I've read about a person from this time period with an eating disorder. Margaret was eventually declared a saint, but her friends, family, and confessor were constantly harping on her to please. eat. something, she was pious and holy enough. A good, good person by any measurable standard who would probably be labeled a Mary Sue if she were purely fictional, but she had a vulnerability to her (beyond the anorexia) that still made her someone I could identify with.

    Next up was the Book I Should Have Read in School, Lord of the Flies. Wow. So much tension. Every time I turned the page I had this sense of dread that something terrible was going to happen. And then it did. Chilling and thought-provoking.

    My Book I've Already Read At Least Once was The Last Unicorn. I cried. Again. This is the book I recommend to everyone I know. It's a gorgeous, smart, bittersweet book, and there's nothing else like it in the world. Love it love it.

    Now on to the Book I Previously Abandoned.

  24. #24
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreity View Post
    My Book I've Already Read At Least Once was The Last Unicorn. I cried. Again. This is the book I recommend to everyone I know. It's a gorgeous, smart, bittersweet book, and there's nothing else like it in the world. Love it love it.
    Oh, I love that book. Now you've made me want to go back and re-read my ancient copy.
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing!
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas!



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  25. #25
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    And now I've changed my Book I Can Finish in a Day yet again - because I read one yesterday during the Super Bowl. I wish I'd liked it better; it sure started out strong, but just fizzled out about 3/4 of the way through. Too bad, but at least it was an easy read.

    ETA: I had two longish subway rides today, which gave me enough focused down time to roar through Louis Sachar's Holes and complete my Banned Book category. I don't read YA much but I really enjoyed the book and can see why it's so popular.

    Book published this year: Here I Am, Jonathan Safran Foer
    Book I can finish in a day: Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline DONE
    Book I've been meaning to read: The Door, Magda SzaboBook recommended by local librarian or bookseller: TBA
    Book I should have read in school: Animal Farm, George Orwell
    Book chosen for me by a loved one: The Garden of Fresh Possibilities, Kim Smith
    Book banned at some point: Holes, Louis Sachar DONE
    Book I previously abandoned: The Path Between the Seas, David McCullough
    Book I own but have never read: The Private Lives of Birds, Bridget Stutchbury ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH
    Book that intimidates me: The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
    Book I've read already at least once: Harpo Speaks, Harpo Marx DONE

    Last edited by mrsmig; 02-09-2016 at 08:33 AM.
    KINGLET: Coming in August 2017 from Fiery Seas Publishing!
    FISKUR: Releasing November 2017 from Fiery Seas!



    My Website:
    www.donnamigliaccio.com

    And the occasional Tweet.





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