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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year (Almost) & Giveaway!

Well it's really more like Happy New Year's Eve, but I thought I'd celebrate this lovely Monday with a look back at 2012 and a nice giveaway to help ring in the new year!

I have to say, this year has not only been more challenging for me, but also more rewarding. In my personal life, I quit my job of five years at a local ice cream shop in order to follow my passion for reading and start working at Barnes and Noble. Not only did I meet tons of amazing new people at this job, but I discovered a lot about myself and how much I truly love working in the book industry. Six months later the sad news came that my store was closing and I was forced to find my second new job of the year. Thanks to my wonderful relationship with Maggie from Not Your Mother's Book Club I was able to get a job at my local (and favorite) bookstore, Books Inc. where I'm able to learn more about the bookseller industry and develop more skills that will help me later on in life. I'm loving where I'm at now and I'm really hoping to move forward in the company throughout the years.

I also made a huge life decision that is leading me on a completely different path than what I've been working towards in the past few years. I've decided I no longer wish to go to grad school and get my teaching credential, but I'm going to stick with the marketing and selling industry of books, hoping to eventually find my niche within the literary world. I'm also approaching my last semester of college and I am so looking forward to graduating and enjoying my future, whatever that may hold.

I have to give my thanks to all of you, the amazing book bloggers and followers and publishers and authors and everyone in between who have made my last year in blogging so much fun and so rewarding. You've all been a constant stream of support throughout the good times and bad and I'm so excited to share 2013 with you!

As for the giveaway, I managed to grab an extra copy of VALKYRIE RISING at Ingrid's signing a few months ago so I'm going to be giving that away to one lucky winner!
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Fill out the Rafflecopter form
- I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged material

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stacking the Shelves - The one with WAY TOO MUCH!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews as a way to share all the books we've received this week!

I've totally been slacking and haven't posted a stacking the shelves in like 3 weeks so this is a gigantic accumulation of everything that I got basically in the past month. It's daunting. 

There are just too many things in these pictures for me to list, but I will thank everyone who sent me such awesome things!

Macmillan Kids
Harper Children's
Merit Press Books
My Work :) 
Maggie from NYMBC

Friday, December 28, 2012

Annual Not Your Mother's Book Club Book Swap!

Not Your Mother's Book Club is holding their third annual Book Swap at Books Inc. Laurel Village!! If you have tons of unwanted young adult books now that the holidays are over, come on down and swap some books! 

The awesome Stacey Jay (Romeo Redeemed, Juliet Immortal) will be there, hanging out and sharing books.

All leftover books that aren't swapped will be donated to a local high school, so not only is this a book swap, it's a book drive! Help out a good cause and have a good time!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Blog Tour: Tempest by Julie Cross & Giveaway!!

Tempest by Julie Cross
Publication date (Paperback): December 11th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Page count: 352 pages
Add to Goodreads
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.
If I Could Time Travel To Any Date In History What Would I Choose?
Answer: July 18, 1976 in Montreal, Canada

This date marked the first perfect 10 ever given in modern Olympic gymnastics. Before I began writing in 2009, my biggest passion was gymnastics. I participated in the sport on and off through my sophomore year of high school. And at 15 years old I began coaching gymnastics. Both recreational and competitive. I continued coaching the sport all the way until August of 2011 when I quit my full-time job as a Gymnastics Program Director at the YMCA to write full-time. I still volunteer to teach classes once a week and my daughters are competing in gymnastics now so I’m still very involved in the sport.

To see Nadia Comaneci score that first perfect 10 back in 1976 and watch as the crowd reacts to the 1.0 placed on the score board because it wasn’t made to go up to 10.0, would be an amazing experience for me. I truly enjoyed every minute of the gymnastics portion of the 2012 London Games, but scoring systems are complex now and that edge-of-your-seat, every-wobble-could-destroy-your-dream feeling just doesn’t exist like it did in 1976. That feeling of hope that people must have had watching every routine that followed her first perfect 10 would be incredible to see first-hand. Just the idea that perfection could be awarded is fascinating to me because as a coach and as an author, I’ve learned that nothing is ever truly finished nor is it ever truly perfect. Believing that an uneven bar routine could be perfect and awarded that by Olympic judges is almost like being able to re-establish your child-like innocence and suddenly be blind to the pessimism and flaws that become visible with age.

I know it sounds a little bit deep and dramatic but maybe it’s the Christmas spirit invading me and reminding me of being a child and believing in Santa Clause.  
Link To Video (if needed):

Giveaway Deets:
- One winner will receive a paperback copy of TEMPEST
* I am not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged items *
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Fill out the Google Doc Form!
- Giveaway lasts from 12/13 - 12/20

Check out the other stops on the tour:
12/8/12: Sara @ Through the Looking Glass - Intro Post
12/9/12: Elena @ Novel Sounds - Author Interview
12/10/12: Hannah @ The Book Vortex - Guest Post -Tempest Playlist
12/11/12: Release Day – Everyone posts
12/12/12: Jen @ Makeshift Bookmark - Guest Post - Favorite Time In History I'd Want to Be a Part Of
12/13/12: Anna @ Literary Exploration - Guest Post - If I Could Time Travel to Any Date in History, What Would I Chose?
12/14/12: Jenny @  Supernatural Snark - Character Interview - Jackson
12/15/12: Sara @  Through the Looking Glass - Finale Post

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guest Post: Life Lessons From Daphne Benedis-Grab

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab
Expected Publication Date: December 18th, 2012
Publisher: Merit Press
Page Count: 256 pages
Add to Goodreads
Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.

They have no idea just how right they are.

Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.
Three Life Lessons from THE GIRL IN THE WALL that I Wish my Teenage Self had Learned
By Daphne Benedis-Grab, 
Author of The Girl in the Wall (Merit Press)

1. Good Friends are to be Cherished

My new novel, The Girl in the Wall, is about a posh party taken hostage and it's narrated by two former BFFs who had a falling out exactly nine months and eleven days earlier (they both keep track). Ariel is the one who feels she was wronged so she responded by wronging Sera, making her a social outcast, despite years of slumber parties, shared secrets and the priceless experience of that friend who really and truly gets you. Over the course of the story hostage stuff happens but along with that Ariel learns that there are some pretty golden reasons why lesson number one is 'good friends are to be cherished'. I won't give away particulars but I will say that Teen-me sure could have used this wisdom back in high school.
Teen-me cared deeply about her friends but she cared even more about something else: being cool. Teen-me was not cool and so she strove for coolness with the singular passion only a teenage girl can have. And that kind of passion gets results. Teen-me managed to claw her way into the cool kids crowd, where she met some nice enough people and enjoyed the experience of feeling cool. But it was work, real work, to maintain the cool status and the friendships in that group did not run deep. But the some of the friends, the real, truly got-me friends, that Teen-me shed along the way? I miss them still.

2. The Mean Girls Don't Matter in the End

When Ariel designated Sera as the class pariah in their small private school, mean girls came out of the woodwork. All of a sudden Sera, who had known only popularity and worship from her peers, was getting snide remarks and hearing her name connected to the words 'backstabbing bitch', not exactly a self esteem booster. For nine months and eleven days Sera let this treatment batter her down, so that she was eventually walking the halls of school like a beaten dog, terrified of the cruelty that could come her way at any moment. Things change over the course of the story, of course, but I won't give any of that away here, I'll just say that Teen-me definitely understood where Sera was coming from.
Teen-me lived in terror of mean girls. I think in my case my deepest fear was that someone would decide that I was a fraud who did not belong in the cool group, that my coolness was a fake, and as a result so was I. For Teen-me being cool meant having to care desperately about how other people judged me, and a negative judgment could crush my self esteem for weeks. Teen-me handed over the power of self esteem to others, a terrible and costly mistake that made high school a lot harder than it needed to be.

3. Have Some Backbone, Girl!

When masked people carrying guns take over the party you are attending, when the hostage situation goes wrong and suddenly everyone's lives are at stake, you face a choice: cooperate and hope for the best, or get a backbone and fight. There are a lot of ways to fight and over the course of the book both Sera and Ariel discover which ways work for them. You'll have to read the book to see what they choose and how it all goes down in the end, but I will say that Teen-me could have used an introduction to the concept of backbone.
For Teen-me, this would actually have been the single most important thing to learn, the thing that would make lessons number 1 and 2 obvious and unnecessary. Fighting does not always mean direct confrontation, it means having backbone and sticking to what you know is right. Mean girl calls you a fraud? Whatever. Friends aren't cool? If they are true friends who cares? Wait, who cares, that mean girl over there? No worries, you have backbone so you don't care what she thinks. In the end it all comes down to the backbone, believing in yourself enough to stick up for yourself no matter what.
Sera and Ariel had a night where their lives were at risk, where everything that mattered was on the line. In the face of that crisis they leaned things that it took Teen-me most of my twenties to figure out. But I think given the choice, I'd rather have taken in these lessons more slowly rather than faced my mortality at seventeen. And in the end what matters is that I did finally learn all three of these lessons and each has served me well!
© 2012 Daphne Benedis-Grab, author of The Girl in the Wall

Author Bio
Daphne Benedis-Grab
, author of The Girl in the Wall, earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School, where she began the thesis that became her first book, Alive and Well in Prague, New York. She has worked a number of jobs including buildings houses for Habitat for Humanity and teaching adult literacy classes. She lives with her husband and their two children in New York City.

For more information please visit and, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

Friday, December 7, 2012

Blog Tour Review: Renegade by J.A. Souders

Renegade by J.A. Souders
Publication Date: November 13th, 2012
Publisher: Tor Teen
Page Count: 364 pages
Format: Finished Copy
Source: Publisher for review
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* I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *
Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she’s thought that everything was perfect; her world. Her people. The Law.

But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into their secluded little world, she’s forced to come to a startling realization: everything she knows is a lie.

Her memories have been altered.

Her mind and body aren’t under her own control.

And the person she knows as Mother is a monster.

Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb... and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.
When I first read the premise for Renegade by J.A. Souders I was seriously intrigued. Set in Elysium, a hidden world built beneath the ocean, and filled with secrets and populated by people who used to live on the Surface. The sound of this world just gave me goosebumps. I was immediately drawn into Evelyn's world and I loved the first person narration. Evelyn is an incredibly unreliable narrator, due to the fact that her memories are constantly being meddled with, and the way her story is told is very similar to that of Mara Dyer. Although the plot starts off a bit slow, the ending blew me away and I cannot wait to see what J.A. Souders will come up with next!

The characters are all very different, and although I didn't really click with any of them, I enjoyed hearing their stories. Evelyn is definitely a strong protagonist, constantly fighting against her mother and having to work through the confusion of having memories erased on an almost daily basis. Her willingness to uncover the secrets of Elysium is admirable and I loved the way she didn't back down to threats. Gavin was okay, he wasn't as swoon-worthy as I like my love interests to be and I felt like he was a little too protective of Evelyn, attempting to control her despite being completely unfamiliar with his surroundings. There are a lot of side characters that are fantastic, and I really loved some of Evelyn's close friends. Even Mother is deliciously evil and I really loved the development of her character as the story progressed.

The world-building is pretty intense. There's a map of Elysium at the beginning of the book which was a nice addition and I could easily relay back to it if I needed a picture to go with a description. Many questions that I had about how certain aspects worked were answered by the end of the book, which was greatly appreciated. I do wish Souders would have given us more description of the Surface, because I felt like I really had no idea what was going on in the outside world. I couldn't really identify the time period either. I assumed it was set in the future, but prior descriptions of the Surface had me thinking it was somewhat desolate, maybe comparable to the world of The Hunger Games or Blood Read Road, but further reading mentioned Gavin playing video games which indicates a more civilized community of people.

Overall, I enjoyed Renegade. I think the ending really amped things up for me, the last 100 pages or so were incredibly intense and a lot of mind-blowing information was thrown my way. I'm hoping the next book will cover a lot of unanswered questions as well as develop the characters a bit more. Renegade is mostly plot-driven, and the biggest issue I had was that the first half of the plot was pretty slow. Once things picked up I couldn't stop reading and I'm really looking forward to the direction everything is moving in. Fans of dystopian and science fiction will definitely enjoy Renegade.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday - Period 8 by Chris Crutcher

****"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Jill at the Breaking The Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.****

Period 8 by Chris Crutcher
Expected Publication Date: Marcy 26th, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 320 pages
Add to Goodreads
In this full-length novel from Chris Crutcher, his first since the best-selling Deadline, the ultimate bully and the ultimate good guy tangle during Period 8.

Paul "the Bomb" Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday School. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don't know is that the ultimate bully, the ultimate liar, is in their midst.

Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great thriller with the controversy, ethics, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story.
Why I Can't Wait: I love love love love Chris Crutcher like SO MUCH YOU GUYS. His writing is just so gritty and real. If you haven't picked up any of his books then DO IT NOW. I highly recommend Whale Talk. Fantastic!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Teaser Tuesday - Dualed by Elsie Chapman

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Expected Publication Date: February 26th, 2013
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 304 pages
Add to Goodreads
You or your Alt? Only one will survive.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

Elsie Chapman's suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
My Teaser
"I've buried nearly everyone I love.
That's the thought that keeps crossing my mind as I sit in the restaurant, picking at the seam along my sleeve where it's starting to wear thin. Beneath the overly bright lighting, the cheap black cotton of the jacket I usually wear to funerals is faded, gray, nubby with use" - ARC page 1

Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Post: Tempestuous by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
Expected Publication Date: December 18th, 2012
Publisher: Merit Press
Page Count: 224 pages
Add to Goodreads
Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Dear Me: Advice to Our Teenage Selves
By Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, Authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure (Merit Press)

As teenage girls go, the heroines in our Twisted Lit novels couldn't be more different. In Tempestuous (our take on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"), Miranda Prospero is powerful, assertive, and confident, perhaps too much so at times. In Exposure (our retelling of "Macbeth"), Skye Kingston is an insecure wallflower whose default mode is hiding her head in the sand whenever possible. While both characters have their inner demons to battle, it's fair to say that as teenagers we were each more like "Skye" than "Miranda." If we could go back in time and offer up some advice to our younger selves, here are a few of the things we'd say:


Your "peeps" are out there . . . you just haven't met them yet.
At age seventeen, I looked like I was twelve, but felt like I was forty. Needless to say, I never really fit in. Growing up before the dawn of the Internet age, it was tough to find peers who were into Merchant-Ivory flicks or who shared my opinion that Mick Jagger was more swoon-worthy than the cheesy boy-bands of my era. (NKOTB, for anyone curious). I eventually broke free of my insular surroundings and found plenty of kindred spirits who shared my sensibilities. Trust that you won't always feel like the proverbial odd man out.

There's no point in finding "Mr. Right" too soon.
No one ends up with their high school sweetheart. Okay, sure, it occasionally happens, but it's not likely. Besides, the type of guy you're going to be attracted to when you're ready to settle down won't be anything like the so-called "hottie" you're swooning over at the high school dance. (In fact, you'll probably look back at your yearbook in 15 years and wonder, "Eww -- what was I thinking?") It's okay to fall in love, but maybe hold off on naming your future children. And if you're desperate and dateless like I was, all the more reason not to sweat it.

You'll thank your parents later.
My parents didn't pony up money to fund my adolescent lifestyle. Any "luxuries" I deemed necessary came from babysitting money. I even paid my own way through college. Their tight purse-strings (which I deemed stingy at the time) taught me how to manage my money wisely and live within my means, a lesson that proved priceless. When your parents say, "We're doing this for your own good," it might actually be true.

Back away from the hairspray!
Photo albums in unspecified locations bear sad witness to my younger self's ill-advised stylistic leanings. I won't beat myself up over fashion choices that now make me cringe, but I wish I would have embraced the "natural" look instead of experimenting (badly) with beauty products. For god's sake -- you're 16, young, and wrinkle-free! Lay off the heavy foundation, bad eyeliner and shellacked bangs that defy gravity...and know that you're beautiful without it!


Hiding your nose in a book isn't the worst thing in the world.
Like most book lovers, I sometimes retreated into literature to escape awkward social interactions or uncomfortable situations. However, with hindsight, it's pretty clear that, as far as methods of escapism go, reading is probably one of the best (and safest) around. It taught me a lot about life, people, and worlds far from my doorstep. Now I wouldn't give that knowledge up for ANYTHING.

You are way cooler than you think.
You might not feel like it, but if you're reading this, I can pretty much guarantee that you are.  Think of this as a message from your future self: the more you develop your own interests and learn to trust your instincts, the cooler you become. Sure, you might not see it when you look in the mirror, but from someone who's been there: it's happening. Feeling lame is just a waste of time.

Everyone else is as insecure as you are . . . more so, maybe!
Down deep, we're all pretty insecure. So give yourself a break, and give your classmates the benefit of the doubt. High school is tough. You're kind of all in it together, whether anyone realizes it or not. True story: I finally pulled my nose out of a book long enough to go to a party the last week of my senior year. Someone I thought was particularly cool actually said to me: "Wow, you're really nice. I thought you were a snob." A lightbulb moment if there ever was one.

Don't sweat the trigonometry class. Seriously.
School was always easy-peasy for me until trigonometry came along and ruined it for me. It wasn't fun to suddenly just not "get it." According to my own standards of perfection, I had to be great at everything. Of course, I realize now that I set myself up for disappointment because I don't know anyone who is perfect. How come I expected myself to be? So definitely give it your all, but if you've done your best, that's good enough. Nobody's perfect.

© 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel

Authors Bios
Kim Askew
, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site, for which she has covered the Teen Choice and MTV awards. Follow Kim on Twitter @kaskew. 

Amy Helmes, co-author of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, is co-author of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males and is also a weekly contributor to The Rundown, a free daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyhelmes.

Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stacking the Shelves: The one with Etiquette!

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews as a way to share all the books we've received this week!

So I have been having a crazy hectic past couple of weeks and I haven't been reading much, or posting much, I've just been doing homework and working and busting my butt now that the end of the semester is coming. I'm definitely incredibly stressed, but I'm hoping it'll all work out in the end, so bare with me for the next couple weeks!!

For Review
The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab (Thanks Merit Press!)
Louder Than Words by Laurie Plissner (Thanks Merit Press!)
Temepestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes (Thanks Merit Press!)
Keeper of the Black Stones by P.T. McHugh (Thanks Glass House Press!!)
The Ultra Violets (Book 1) by Sophie Bell (Thanks PenguinKids!)

From Work
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock


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According to FTC guidelines I must point out that all of the books that I review on my blog were either purchased by me or were given to me by the author/publisher. All words and opinions expressed are my own and I do not receive any monetary goods for writing reviews. I will state in my review which books I have received for review and which books I have purchased/borrowed. All images and synopsis are taken from unless otherwise stated.
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