Category: Six Degrees of Separation

Jun 11

6 Degrees of Separation: The Casual Vacancy

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Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

It’s been far too long since I played my favorite game, don’t you think? The amazing Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman are hosting Six Degrees of Separation and this month’s jumping off point is The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling (review.) Raise your hand if you’re excited! (I’m envisioning zillions of hands in the air, which I will take as a resounding “yes!”)sixdegrees1

1. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran (review)- The character that really stuck with me after finishing The Casual Vacancy was Krystal. Sigh. When I think of British people living in “the projects” I have startlingly few reference points. Luckily, Caitlin Moran exists and her Johanna Morrigan nee Dolly Wilde presents a (very) Islightly rosier picture of a similar set of circumstances and thus we have landed on How to Build a Girl.

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (review)- Hear me out! Okay, so both How to Build a Girl and Cinder have awesome covers featuring ladies’ footwear. PLUS, when I hear a phrase like “how to build a girl” I begin imagining robot parts, so it’s only fitting that my favorite cyborg take the next spot on the list.

3. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber (review)- Cinder is a retelling of Cinderella, obviously, but you know what else was a retelling of Cinderella? Pretty Woman. Of course, Pretty Woman got all Hollywood-ed up with Julia Roberts and the 90s and all. However. If Pretty Woman were more realistic, set in Victorian England, and ended without the happily ever after, it’d be The Crimson Petal and the White.


4. The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (review)- I love love love this book by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, and it TOTALLY works with The Crimson Petal and the White because the whole “language of flowers” thing was a Victorian construct. Also Petal=Flower. Boom.

5. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon (review)- Wordplay is my jam so jumping from “language” to The Word Exchange just seemed like the right decision. The Word Exchange sure as heck made me think about language differently. It also made me a little paranoid that my cell phone is plotting my untimely demise, but I digress.

6. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (review)- Word Flu to Georgia Flu seems plausible, no? Apocalypse all up in this piece!


And there we have it! The Casual Vacancy to Station Eleven in six easy steps. Was that not a larking romp? Tell me Bookworms. Where would YOUR chain lead?!

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Apr 07

Six Degrees of Separation: The Rosie Project

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G’Day Bookworms!

It’s time again for the most fun game in all the book blogosphere! Six Degrees of Separation is the super fantastic meme put together by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. Emma and Annabel have chosen The Rosie Project (review) as this month’s jumping off point. Anybody up for connecting books via tenuous and occasionally ridiculous links? I know I am!


1. Because I had to mentally change my internal monologue’s reading accent partway through The Rosie Project after realizing it was set in Australia, not England my first connection is to What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty which caused me the very same dilemma.

2. The next stop on this crazy train is going to be Jodi Picoult’s Picture Perfect. The whole temporary amnesia thing in this book just wouldn’t NOT be connected to What Alice Forgot. I mean, these books could be cousins.

3. Next in line is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (review) because Will in Picture Perfect had the whole love-hate conflicted emotions going on with his life on the reservation juuuuust like Junior.


4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (review) is my next link on the chain. Because teen angst. It abounds in both The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Perks of Being a Wallflower so it had to be done.

5. The Windflower by Laura London (review) is up next. Wallflower, Windflower. Potato, potahto. They sound alike. Nobody said I couldn’t use such a thing as grounds for linkage!

6. Finally, we’re ending with Voyager by Diana Gabaldon. The Windflower is a pirate-tastic romance on the high seas, so it’s only natural that I connect it to the volume of the Outlander saga with all the sailing and whatnot. Ahoy!

There you have it. The Rosie Project to Voyager in six easy steps! What a ride! Talk to me Bookworms. What are things that make YOU mentally group books together? Subject matter? Word association? Logic?

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Mar 17

Six Degrees of Separation: WILD!

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Greetings Bookworms!
It’s been a while since I played one of my favorite games, so I’m SUPER stoked to tackle Six Degrees of Separation for Wild by Cheryl Strayed (review). This game is hosted, as always, by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman, who are both lovely and delightful. Just so you know the rules, I’m going to start listing books beginning with Wild and connect them via any old thing my heart desires. It can get pretty crazy in this noggin of mine, so you’d best buckle up.

6degreesnew1. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (review)- Hear me out on this one. Cheryl Strayed’s poor feet were absolutely mangled by the Pacific Crest Trail. In fact, the only feet in literature I could think of who’d had it worse were the poor girls in Snow Flower and the Secret Fan who had their feet bound. Holy ouch, you guys.

2. Sula by Toni Morrisson-  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was at its heart the story of female friendship and misunderstandings. When I think of best friendships gone awry, I can’t help but think of Sula.

3. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf- I read Sula in the same college class during which I read my one and only Virginia Woolf novel, To the Lighthouse. You guys, I think I’m just not smart enough to GET Virginia Woolf.


4. Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff- Speaking of lighthouses, what about the Lighthouse of Alexandria, y’all? Cleopatra had a kickass lighthouse. This non-fiction account of Cleopatra’s life taught me ALL THE THINGS. Completely fascinating.

5. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare- What? I can’t very well include Antony and Cleopatra, seeing as I haven’t read (or seen) it. Besiiiiiiides, I now know the tragic ending and it totally works with R&J. For reals.

6. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion (review)- Romeo and Juliet and Zombies. Boom.

So there we are. Wild to Warm Bodies in 6 easy steps! Seriously, though, Bookworms. Is anybody keeping tabs on Kevin Bacon these days?

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Nov 25

6 Degrees of Separation: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

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Hello There Bookworms!

I know you’ve been bereft this past month, desperately wanting to know when 6 Degrees of Separation was going to be back. Today is the day! The lovely and fabulous Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman chose Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves as this month’s jumping off point. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve not yet read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, but I’m playing ANYWAY because I want to and I have a really good first link in the chain, okay?


1. We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas (review)- I chose to start here because the titles totally had me mixing up these two books. Apparently when titles start and end with the same words, I get confused.

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (review) – I chose this as the second step because Eileen Tumulty’s childhood reminded me of so much of Francie Nolan’s. Oh, my heart!

3. Killing Williamsburg by Bradley Spinelli (review)- Because Brooklyn! Of course, Killing Williamsburg had a suicide plague, so the connection isn’t exact or anything, but that’s not the point of this game, so I’m good.


4. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (review)- Killing Williamsburg begins to feel a bit like a zombie novel once the plague really gets going, and though the creatures in I Am Legend are technically vampires and not zombies, it’s creeptastic.

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy (review)- I’m connecting this to I Am Legend because both books are post-apocalyptic and BLEAK.

6. The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood (review)- Alright, there’s some minor cheating here because I chose to link to a trilogy instead of a standalone book, but I’m a rebel that way. This is one of the most awesome post-apocalyptic offerings ever. Plus, MARGARET ATWOOD. It works.

That about does it. Want to play along? Check out the rules below!



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Oct 17

Six Degrees of Separation: 1984

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How goes it, Bookworms?

I’m pretty excited today, because I’m jumping back into one of the coolest memes in the book blogosphere. That’s right. The Six Degrees of Separation meme (hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman) chose 1984 as their jump-off point this month, and, well, I couldn’t NOT participate. Big Brother would be displeased. (I fear Big Brother! Truly, I do. Especially the reality show. I don’t get it.)

sixdegrees11. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (review): I don’t have to have GOOD reasons to link books together, do I? I borrowed my college roommate’s copy of 1984 and it had one large blue eye on the cover of it. I just don’t read that many books that feature eyeballs as cover art. It made an impression. Thus my decision to link to The Bluest Eye

2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (review): My reasoning here is twofold. First, The Bluest Eye is an intense discussion of the difficulties of life faced by African American women… And incest. Much like The Color Purple. Seriously heartbreaking stories, the both of them. Also, though, they’ve got colors in their titles. It makes me think of my reading rainbow. I love that rainbow… Siiigh. Speaking of rainbows…

3. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell (review): Man, do I love Rainbow Rowell, and not only because her name is FABULOUS. Her books are fabulous, too. Attachments was her first novel, and I feel like it doesn’t get enough love. It’s the sweetest little novel about a couple who falls in love through mild internet stalking. Swoon. Also, the leading man in Attachments is named Lincoln, which leads me to…


4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: I don’t know what it is about putting historical figures and/or classic literary characters into bizzaro situations that makes me so happy, but oh it does! I don’t find it irreverent, I find it wonderful. Well, it’s also irreverent, but I love it. Hence, I’m brought to the next book on my list…

5. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H Winters (review): I loved the crap out of this book. It was just so innovative. I mean, sea monsters?! Steampunk underground cities? Swarthy pirates right and left? I couldn’t help myself. One of my favorite elements of this book was that a lot of the respectable wives of the respectable gents were actually kidnapped natives from deserted islands. A fitting metaphor for certain arranged marriages, no? The culinary delights provided by some of these former island princesses put me in mind of the lovely fare J Maarten Troost encountered on his travels through the South Pacific which leads me to…

6. Headhunters on My Doorstep by J Maarten Troost (review): J Maarten Troost has adventures so you don’t have to. This book had me laughing so many times, I just can’t help but demand that people pick up some Troost. Next time you think it’s a good idea to move to an equatorial atoll, think again. It’s a wild ride, y’all. Gooooood times.



And there you have it! Dystopian England to the equatorial atolls of the South Pacific in 6 easy steps! Have I mentioned I love this meme?!

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Aug 15

Six Degrees of Separation: Gone Girl

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Howdy Bookworms!

It’s time again for my favorite monthly meme, Six Degrees of Separation, hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. This month’s starting point is Gone Girl (review), which is awesome, as my HIGHLY SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH has shown that if Kevin Bacon were a book, he’d be Gone Girl. Kismet, no?


1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. My first stop on this crazy train is going to be in Hannibal, MO. (Bonus points if you now have “Shoeless Joe from Hannibal, MO” from Damn Yankees stuck in your head.) Gone Girl is set in Hannibal, MO whose most famous alumnus (before the Dunnes got all crazy up in there) is Mark Twain. Hence, the first book in my chain is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

2. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. One of my favorite adventures of Huck Finn occurred when he landed in the middle of the Shepherdson and Grangerford family feud. It got me to thinking about literary family feuds so OF COURSE, I landed on the infamous antics of the Capulets and Montagues!

3. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (review). How did I arrive here from Romeo and Juliet? Well. Doomed lovers, for a start. BUT. The title The Fault in Our Stars is totally a Shakespeare reference. Unfortunately, it’s NOT from Romeo and Juliet, it’s from Julius Caesar. However, now that we’re in ancient Rome, my next book choice totally makes sense!


4. I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith (review). How better to attach two books than with the assassination of a historical figure?! I Am Livia opens with the plotting of Caesar’s demise and goes on to get down with its Roman self. The thing about Rome is not everyone was thrilled to be conquered and stuff. That leads us to…

5. Hannibal: Enemy of Rome by Ben Kane (review). Carthage haaaaaaaaaated Rome. And Rome haaaaaaaaaated Carthage. And the kids who lived there grew up and fought in wars and stuff. But Hannibal, leader of the Carthaginian army, had a flock of WAR ELEPHANTS, which is kind of awesome, and connects to…

6. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. War elephants, circus elephants. Potato, potahto. We made it all the way from the crazy media circus of Gone Girl to the actual circus. With elephants. And now you know why I can never get anything done. This is how my brain works. Oye.

#6Degrees Rules


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Jul 11

Six Degrees of Separation: The Goldfinch

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Good Day Bookworms!

It’s time again for one of my FAVORITE monthly memes, Six Degrees of Separation hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. They choose a book as a starting point, and then we create a chain of books connecting them in any old way we please. Seriously. I once connected two books using yogurt. It’s awesome. This month I’m happy to announce that I have indeed read the starting point book, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (review). Ready set? Let’s do this!


1. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: Ooooh yes. I went there. Boris was my favorite character in The Goldfinch and seriously, if he had been born in 19th Century Paris, he would have been Gavroche! Gavroche was, no surprises here, my favorite character in  Les MisérablesI love a plucky street urchin.

2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (review): I’m switching gears from Paris to Georgia here. Two sweeping epics full of political unrest and corsets? They didn’t specifically mention any hoop skirts in Les Misérablesbut I’ve got my suspicions. And did you see Samantha Barks’s teeeeeeeeeny tiny waist in the movie version of Les Misérables? You know there were corsets all up in there. How could I not connect these two?

3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith: Sometimes I get cheeky, and “sometimes” is now. Clearly I’m connecting Gone with the Wind to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter through the American Civil War. They’re both fiction… The latter is just a bit less realistic. (Spoiler Alert: Vampires aren’t real. I’d have been eaten by now, if my attractiveness to blood sucking insects is any indication.)


4. World War Z by Max Brooks (review): Vampires are mythological creatures that feed on humans, zombies are mythological creatures that feed on humans. It works.

5. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (review): A zombie apocalypse will bring about the end of the world as we know it just as easily as nuclear war will. Of course, nuclear war is ACTUALLY a thing that could happen, so it’s even scarier…

6. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (review): Speaking of terrifying potential dystopian scenarios can we TALK about The Handmaid’s Tale?! Women sold and used as breeding stock? Women forbidden to read? Worst nightmare, much?

There we have it! The Goldfinch to The Handmaid’s Tale in six easy steps… Including pit stops for corsets, vampires, and zombies. So much fun! Alright Bookworms, tell me something. What book would YOU link to The Goldfinch

#6Degrees Rules


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Jun 20

Six Degrees of Separation: The Luminaries

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Greetings, Bookworms!

I was on the fence about participating in the Six Degrees of Separation meme (hosted by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman) this month because the starting point is a book I haven’t read, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Boosted by the fact that April created her post not having read the book either, I figured I could go ahead and play along. I do so love this meme!



1. I don’t know a whole lot about The Luminaries other than it’s a book that’s won a lot of awards. I’m not good with award winning books, I tend to find them a bit stodgy. Highbrow literary fiction and I don’t always get along, which brings me to my first book in the chain, 1Q84  by Hakuri Murakami. I took this book out from the library thinking it was something else and I simply couldn’t make it through (it’s a big ass book!) I’ve been put off on reading his work since then.

2. Which brings me to book number two, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. When I ended up with that Murakami, I only did so because I am a HORRIBLE PERSON. We had recently read Never Let Me Go in book club and I LOVED it, but I couldn’t remember the author’s name, only that it was Japanese. Hence, the Murakami I wasn’t prepared for.

3. Since we’re talking about Japanese names, why don’t we just stick with the Japan theme and head to book number three, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. You know I can’t get enough hooker books! I don’t know what it is, but the varied and fascinating tales of prostitution always draw me in.


4. Ladies of the night, you say? Let’s talk about Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue. Holy cats, this book BLEW ME AWAY. The underworld of 18th Century London? How exactly does one find themselves in such a profession? Then there’s the class system. “The Quality.” I can’t even.

5. If anybody would slip through the proverbial cracks in society, it would be a prostitute working the Seven Dials in the 18th Century, which leads me to book number five, Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman’s dark and twisty imagination created an elaborate underground London that exists in the famed subway tunnels under the city. Magical!

6. Speaking of dark and twisty and magical, how’s about we finish this out with Erin Morgenstern’s gorgeous novel, The Night CircusWhat a glorious tale of magic and whimsy and love!

#6Degrees Rules

 Any of you Bookworms read The LuminariesShould I give it a go?


May 13

Six Degrees of Separation: The Bell Jar

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G’day Bookworms!

It’s Tuesday, but I am forgoing Top Ten Tuesday list making this week in order to make a completely different list! That’s right, I’m talking about the awesome monthly meme, Six Degrees of Separation put on by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. This month’s jumping off point is The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I read this in college and found it to be crushingly depressing, but that’s fitting, as the main character struggles with depression and likely other mental illnesses. I’m not a psychiatrist, but the poor girl needs help. In any case, it will serve as a fantastic beginning to my Six Degrees of Separation chain!


Ah, The Bell JarAs I mentioned, it’s been a while since I read this book, but what sticks out to me is the heartbreaking struggle with mental illness the main character goes through. Along that line, the first book in my chain is…

1. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen: While reading Esther’s plight I couldn’t help but be reminded of Susanna Kaysen’s memoir Girl, InterruptedWinona Ryder and Angelina Jolie starred in the movie adaptation, and that was when Ms. Jolie won her Oscar. (She also rather creepily kissed her brother on that occasion, but that was before she started saving the world and all.) This leads me to…

2. Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang by Joyce Carol Oates: Why do I make this jump? Angelina Jolie also starred in the film version of Foxfire, which is one of the loosest novel adaptations ever. One of the most memorable scenes in the movie involves the girls giving each other tattoos. This scene doesn’t even occur in the book, but I mention it because it reminds me of a scene in the next book on the list…

3. The Pact by Jodi Picoult: I actually kind of hated this book. It’s about a teenage couple who engage in a supposed suicide pact, but the girl is the only one who dies. The boy is then thrown in jail on suspicion that he murdered his girlfriend. While in jail, he gets a prison tattoo from another inmate using an ink pen and a needle (or was it a safety pin? I can’t remember. Something sharp and not a professional tattoo gun.) Because that’s sanitary. But since we’re talking about jail time…


4. Orange Is the New Black by Piper Kerman: I just finished this book (I promise I’ll review it for you one day soon) but it’s the memoir of a privileged, white, Ivy League graduate’s time spent in prison thanks to some rotten choices and a drug smuggling conviction. Her crime involved sneaking drug money through an airport, which reminds me of another smuggler’s tale…

5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: (review) How’s about the smuggling of an irreplaceable painting? Theo hauls that poor painting hither and yon across the country. One of my favorite characters in The Goldfinch was the scrappy and seedy Ukranian mafioso of his own design. Boris’s plucky thievery reminded me of nobody so much as The Artful Dodger from…

6. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: The Artful Dodger and Boris both had been dealt rotten hands by fate, but they made the most of things and took on the underworld with aplomb. (review)

There you have it! Six Degrees of Separation: The Bell Jar to Oliver Twist. Crazier things have happened. Probably. I tried asking this question via social media, but I didn’t get a huge response, so here it is again. If Kevin Bacon were a book, what book would he be? (The current leader is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but I’m open to suggestions.)

#6Degrees Rules


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Apr 21

Six Degrees of Separation: Burial Rites (Or, How Katie is a Big Cheater-Face.)

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Greetings Bookworms!

I recently discovered this fantastic new meme through Rory at Fourth Street Review that’s put on by Annabel Smith and Emma Chapman. Once a month Annabel and Emma will choose a book they both enjoyed. Readers will be tasked with creating a 6-degrees-of-separation chain beginning with said book. There’s a ton of room for creativity, because there are no guidelines on the connections. Whatever you feel is fair game, and that’s totally my kind of meme!


I know it might be a bit presumptuous to cheat this system since it’s my first time at this particular rodeo, but the starting point for this month was Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (my review). I actually came up with several different chains, but I liked the initial connections of all of them SO MUCH that I decided just to make a six lists of one separation… Or something. You’ll see what I’m talking about in a minute, I swear. READY?!

1. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan: Alright, this connection is tenuous, I’ll admit, but these are the things that jump out at me. YOGURT. While reading Burial Rites, I kept googling things I hadn’t heard of, particularly the food. Skyr is a traditional Icelandic food that is apparently similar to yogurt. There was a point in A Visit from the Goon Squad where they discussed one of the girls’ mothers making homemade yogurt. I didn’t actually like the book but that whole yogurt thing made an impression.

2. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy: I saw soooo many parallels between Agnes and Tess! The tragic ends and the circumstances and the heartbreak. I just. Yeah. Agnes and Tess are like soul sisters.

3. The Green Mile by Stephen King: It’s hard to not connect this book with Burial Rites, I mean, they’re both about characters awaiting their executions. And they’re both pretty fabulous. It works. (my review)


4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson: I couldn’t help but link this series to Burial Rites. It’s got to do with the whole Nordic vibe and the less than awesome justice system Lisbeth and Agnes were subjected to. Plus, the court representatives in both books were pretty big douche canoes, so, yeah.

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: I was really struck at some of the description of Icelandic winters while reading Burial RitesIt sounded so darn BLEAK. The only landscape I could conjure up that was anywhere close to the Icelandic winter was the post apocalyptic nightmare Cormac McCarthy put together. And I thought Illinois sucked in the winter. (my review)

6. The Remedy by Thomas Goetz: Nobody can cough up blood without me thinking they have TB, and nobody can have TB without me thinking of The Remedy! The matriarch of the farm where Agnes is held is struggling with some suspiciously tuberculosis-like symptoms. I’m just saying. (my review)

There we have it! Katie’s cheater-cheater version of Six Degrees of Separation. Are there any books that you might link to Burial RitesTell me about it, Bookworms!

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