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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Review: Tangled in Time by Pauline Baird Jones

Okay, quick background. It is 2010. Humans are out there in space, in another galaxy. Of course, it is a big secret on earth. But the military is all over the other galaxy. It takes a while to get to there from Earth. But once there, humans discovered a portal that allows a person to travel instantaneously through space and time. Kind of like Star Trek's transporter, only better.

At the beginning of Tangled in Time, Colonel Carey is testing the portal, when an unexpected impact lands him somewhere that is not where he expected to go. Soon he meets Olivia Carstairs, who has traveled to that point via steam-powered transmogrification machine. She, also, is not where she expected to be. By the way, she looks like Mary Poppins, complete with parasol. And the Colonel wants “to kiss her like it was his job.”

What follows is the adventures and romance of two people, well, Tangled in Time. The title may be giveaway, but in case it is not, the Colonel and Olivia are from two different time periods and end up in a third time period. Oh, there is some time tangling going on.

Steampunk elements abound - steam and brass, a teapot, an Individual Discovery Velocipediator, a Mapulator Retrieval Apparatus and some pretty fancy goggles. Plus, the aforementioned parasol. If it seems a stretch to mix steampunk with Sci Fi, it is. A good stretch. Like when you have been sitting for a long time and you stand up to stretch your legs.

The romance is light-hearted. The fact that the Colonel and Olivia come from different centuries has no effect on their mutual respect and pretty much instant attraction. I would describe their relationship as sweet and funny.

In a Sci-Fi/Steampunk adventure, you would expect there to be a bad guy. There is the mysterious Professor Smith, who seems like he is not on the side of right, but you really can't tell, which makes him all the more intriguing. Professor Smith is an ambiguous character that will most likely be around for another story in the series.

Tangled in Time is the third book in the Project Enterprise series. Though there are a few references that you will not get unless you read the first two books, I think Tangled in Time can be be read as standalone. The feel of it is entirely different from the first two, but writing style is very similar.

Speaking of writing style, Ms. Jones' is unique. She has a direct, smart-alecky voice that is also very smart and witty. I love it!

Ms. Jones writes in a variety of genres, but I think she excels at Sci Fi Romance. The first two books in this series, The Key, and Girl Gone Nova are on my favorites shelf.

The e-book version of Tangled in Time has just the one story. There is a print version of the book that also includes two bonus Project Enterprise stories. But print, or digital, Tangled in Time is Sci-Fi/Steampunk Romance at its best. It is only about 80 pages long, so if you are looking for a quick, extremely entertaining read, I highly recommend it.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

Audiobook Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire, Narrated by Emma Galvin

Beautiful Disaster is one of those books that I feel like everyone has read at this point, and I am so late to the party. I have heard so many good things about this book that I knew I had to read it. So when I got the chance to listen to the audiobook, I was really excited to finally find out what everyone had been talking about. I have to say this one left me with mixed feelings, and I am still trying to figure out exactly what I am thinking about it. While I liked parts a lot, there were also other things that really did not work for me.

Abby Abernathy needed to escape her life, so she and her best friend headed to Eastern University to put some distance between herself and her past. When she finds herself face to face with the school's playboy, she immediately puts him in his place. Though she is attracted to Travis Maddox, she knows she needs to avoid him. But Travis is determined to win Abby over, and the two begin to form a friendship. As they get closer, both of the feelings start to change though neither of them are willing to admit it to the other. When Travis and Abby make a bet about the outcome of one of his fights, Abby ends up losing and must spend a month with Travis. Will their new circumstances show them that they belong together, or will it all end in disaster? 

Both of these characters frustrated me at times, Abby more so than Travis. Travis had been used to going through women, and made no apologies for who he was. But he started to change when he met Abby. I liked how he was with her, and I thought that she brought out the best in him. There were a few times that I really thought that Travis screwed up, but he also did some really sweet and thoughtful things as well. Abby ran hot and cold, and I felt like she gave Travis a lot of mixed signals. I didn't like her dating Parker, and I also didn't like that though she wasn't with Travis she would get mad about him being with others. It was okay for her to date others, but he wasn't supposed to? If she wanted him, she should have been honest rather than just get mad about things that she didn't have a right to be mad about. I did think that they had a great friendship and connection though, and their chemistry and attraction was never a problem. These two were great together, I just felt like the way they got there wasn't the best. 

I have to say that I think it was Abby and the way she acted that drove me crazy the most. She made some bad choices and I felt like she overreacted on more than one occasion. While I liked her with Travis, I wanted them to talk more and learn to communicate better. These two were both young, and I think that was a lot of the problem. But I wish that a few things that happened went differently. While I didn't love everything about this story, I did like the book and there were a lot of really entertaining parts. I just think that this story suffered a bit from the immaturity of the characters, and the angst and back and forth got to be a bit much. I liked Emma Galvin's narration though, and I thought that she did a great job of bringing Jamie McGuire's story to life. Emma was clear and easy to understand, and I thought her voice fit perfectly with Abby's character. It was age appropriate and wasn't annoying to me. I felt like she did a really great job of differentiating between characters so that you always knew who it was in the story, and the voices sounded normal. Sometimes when a single narrator tries to do different voices it can come off as strange and that wasn't the case here at all. I will definitely listen to more by Emma Galvin in the future.

**Audiobook Provided by Publisher**

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Feature and Giveaway: Seduced by Sunday by Catherine Bybee

Meg Rosenthal: Matchmaker by day, realist by night, Meg is not about to get swept away by a charming, darkly handsome businessman in a designer suit.
She’s come to a beautiful secluded resort to evaluate the private island’s potential for her agency, not to ogle its owner. But there’s something about the magnetic man that’s hard to resist, even for a woman who refuses to fall in love.

Valentino Masini: A successful and drop-dead sexy businessman, Valentino is used to having the finer things in life. Yet he’s never wanted someone the way he wants Meg, who’s stirring up a hurricane of trouble in his heart. But just as he decides to convince her to stay, someone else decides it might be time to get Meg off the island...permanently.

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository |

Feature and Giveaway: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

In Midnight Crossroad, Charlaine Harris “capture[d] the same magic as the world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and [took] it to another level" (Houston Press). Now the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels returns to the one-traffic-light town you see only when you’re on the way to someplace else…

There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading.

Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

Friday, May 1, 2015

ARC Review: Twisted by Cynthia Eden

Cynthia Eden where do you get all these wonderful ideas! Where ever they come from please keep ‘em coming! If you loved Broken the first book of the series you’ll love Twisted just as much; it is named exactly as it should because it is one twisted situation with one twisted villain. If the following books are anywhere near as good this one book the series is going to be outstanding. Cynthia Eden has a way of pulling you in and wrapping the story around you so you forget everything else.

The team from LOST (Last Option Search Team) is back again this time in New Orleans looking for a sixteen year old runaway. Former FBI agent, Dean Bannon, is on foot asking around looking for a lead, luckily he finds one. Emma Castile does not claim to be psychic; she is just observant, capable of noticing what other easily over look. Emma has picked up the pieces of her life after her father was murdered by a raging psychopath who kidnapped and murdered his girlfriend and her twin sister. Emma uses the knowledge her father taught her to start her life over again, it has served her well and she has kept her nose clean and out of trouble and the spotlight her father loved. That is until a young woman sits down at Emma’s vender booth. Emma knows instantly the girl is running scared and that something really bad is about to happen. Emma runs after the girl but she just disappears only finding blood smeared on the wall. At first Emma is hesitant to help, but after she comes home to a wrecked apartment and the words You’re Next tagged on the wall she goes to Dean for protection in return she will be willing to help track down the person responsible.

The attraction between Dean and Emma is instant; they see something in each other and despite the animosity Emma feels for FBI and their ilk because of what happened to her father and the what Dean finds out about her father and assumes she’s just a fraud like him; despite all that the attraction between them is like playing with a flint over on open container of lamp oil, it’s only a matter of time before it ignites and when it does it’ll burn bright and hot. Emma is not one to easily trust but there is something kindred about Dean she opens her heart and trust to the man. Dean doesn’t feel worthy of her attention but can’t deny his feelings. Emma sees through Dean’s doubt and ends up loving him for the man he is even if he can’t see it himself. Dean is humbled and complete with Emma’s love and will do anything to keep her safe.

This case is bugging Dean, there is something about it that sets it apart from others. When the team’s profiler, Sarah Jacobs, cues in her thoughts it becomes apparent that it isn’t just coincidence that the M.O.s are similar with the serial killer that ended Dean’s career as a fed, a mad man who was presumed dead just maybe back from the dead and this time it’s personal (sorry couldn’t help myself). Now they are racing the clock to find the missing teen, Julia and keep Emma out of his clutches. As things progress it turns out things aren’t as they seem, and even thought I guessed right, the Killer leads the LOST team on a merry chase throughout New Orleans. With situations that make you second guess yourself it’s a rollercoaster ride of romance and suspense. I highly recommend this book for everyone who loves a good romantic suspense you don’t even have to have read Broken; this can be read as a stand-alone.

**ARC provied by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Broken Juliet by Leisa Rayven

Broken Juliet is the second book in the Starcrossed series by Leisa Rayven and it is the continuation of Cassie and Ethan's story. This book is not a standalone, and should be read after Bad Romeo. While I really liked Bad Romeo, I absolutely loved Broken Juliet! This book was so good, and I honestly loved every bit of it. If you haven't read these books yet, they are definitely worth it! I will admit that they will put you on a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but to me the journey was one that I would take again in a heartbeat. 

Cassie Taylor had tried to move forward with her life for years, but was never able to fully move on after her ex Ethan Holt broke her heart twice. Then he was suddenly back in her life as they were cast opposite one another as leads once again. Not only was Ethan back, but Cassie quickly learned that he was determined to win her back once and for all. Ethan said that he changed, but Cassie had heard that before and knew that she needed to be careful to guard her heart. As Cassie and Ethan get to know one another again, she finds herself falling for him all over again. But can they have another chance to be together, or will their insecurities and fears destroy them once and for all? 

I liked Cassie and Ethan in Bad Romeo, but I felt like we really saw so much growth and progress from each of them in Broken Juliet. They were older and more mature, but they had also been through so much. For Ethan, he had finally realized that his insecurities didn't need to hold him back and that he needed to stop self sabotaging. I was so glad that he had not only received help that he needed, but that he wasn't ashamed of it. He truly came to Cassie a changed man that was an open book, and I loved his honesty. He really laid himself bare before her, and it was exactly what he needed to do to show her just how far he had come. Cassie was more wary than ever, and I hated seeing her go backwards compared to what she once was. She had been hurt and was skeptical, and she had every right to be. But she also could see the good in Ethan and she had never really stopped loving him, even when she hated him. I was glad that Cassie got the help that she never knew she needed, because I think it really set her up to be happier than she could have been without it. She needed to face some things on her own just as Ethan had, and I think these two had a much stronger foundation for a relationship because they were willing to do what it took this time around. These two have always had amazing chemistry and an undeniable connection, but I really felt like we got to see just how much deeper that bond could be in this book.

Overall, this book was fantastic. In my opinion, I thought that it was much better than the first book. I had really liked Bad Romeo, but there were some issues for me with the shift in time. I felt like in that book it was a bit jarring and confusing at times, and it felt like a debut novel of an author with great potential. But this book was much more polished, with the transitions between past and present smooth and easy to follow. The book flowed really well, and I found myself shutting out the world as I devoured every word of Cassie and Ethan's story. Leisa Rayven has written a beautiful story with characters that are real and flawed, but that you can't help but fall in love with. I found my heart breaking for these characters at times, and then laughing out loud at others. Broken Juliet truly captivated me from the very first page, and it was everything that I could have hoped for and more. These books are a must read for me, and I think that readers will really love this emotional series. If you are looking for something sexy and funny that will give you all the feels, the Starcrossed series by Leisa Rayven is not to be missed!

**ARC Provided by Goodreads First Reads & St. Martin's Press**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes | 

Interview with Author Lauren Layne and Giveaway

Meet Lauren Layne, author of Crushed.

Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Feature and Giveaway: Meant for You by Samantha Chase

She dares to dream...

Summer Montgomery wants to be taken seriously almost as much as she wants her brother's best friend, Ethan. But with a long resume of seemingly random career choices and a protective brother on watch, those things are nothing more than pipe dreams...

Does he dare to try?

Ethan Reed would like nothing more than to live by his own rules. Not wanting to disappoint his best friend Zach, or any of the Montgomerys, Ethan's had to push his long-denied feelings for Summer aside. But it only takes one night away from watchful eyes to make impossible dreams come true...

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Audiobook Review: Reasonable Doubt by Whiney Garcia Williams, Narrated by Sebastian York and Erin Mallon

RIDICULOUS!! “Reasonable Doubt” by Whitney G was phenomenal. I started this audiobook on Tuesday Morning and finished it Tuesday afternoon. I was obsessed, addicted and completely intrigued with the storyline, the characters and the narrators! I took any chance I could to listen to this fantastic story.

Since “Reasonable Doubt” has been reviewed already, and I utterly and completely agree with my fellow reviewers, I will say I was captivated by Andrew Hamilton and Audrey. Andrew is ridiculous. He is so hilarious I found myself laughing-out-loud. If I had read this book I would have ended up high lightening half the book. I found myself stopping the audio and listening to some parts over and over because some parts were so hilarious and other times (mostly Andrew’s dialogue) was so shocking. His take- no- prisoners, do-whatever-I-want-attitude made him irritating and at the same time fascinating. Luckily Aubrey can hold her own. When she meets Andrew she is young, ten years younger. I loved the tension between them even before they come face to face. I know that this story comes in different parts but I can’t imagine having to wait for the different segments! I was anticipating the corresponding parts of this story. This became one of my favorite stories. I loved the way Williams revealed Andrew’s past. There were moments when I was heartbroken. There were moments I hated Andrew. Really, just a phenomenal story! I also loved Aubrey. She was a character that started out in college, pre-law and very young but she quickly matured. I only had one little complaint about the storyline. Other than Andrew’s life in New York we never knew anything else about him.

Sebastian York was phenomenal as Andrew. He really brought him to life. He really got Andrew and was able to convey all his emotions so effectively. Erin Mallon was equally fantastic. She made Audrey come alive and made her real. I thought both narratives were fantastic. They were perfect for these two parts. Needless to say, “Reasonable Doubt” narrated by Sebastian York and Erin Mallon is as good as it gets!

**Audiobook provided by Audible**

Purchase: | AudiobookAmazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Taking What's His by Diane Alberts

I loved this story. This book may not have been one of the epic life changing literary works of art but I loved it all the same. This is my first Diane Albert book but apparently it's #4 in the "Shillings Agency" series. This is absolutely a standalone so feel free to dive right in. I'm already planning to check out other books in the series.

Holt is a tortured former Marine dulling his pain with a variety of sketchy sex. Liv is the younger (but fully grown) sister of one of his best friends who is fresh off a relationship with a true a-hole. Liv tries to sneak in one night with Holt before he figures out who she is but of course following the one night he immediately figures out who she is and spends the rest of the book doing a really bad job of staying away from her.

Ok so maybe I'm a little twisted because I love a tortured Hero and Holt fed my fetish. What sets Holt a part from other tortured Hero's is that his PTSD issues were so well depicted that they didn't feel contrived for the sake of the plot. Diane Albert must have bothered to do some research into the experiences of soldiers following war and I really appreciated how genuine Holt's struggles come across. I can't say enough about how I loved Holt and the way he tried to suffer in silence. I just loved it.

As for Liv, I loved her too. I didn't get as much from Liv as I got from Holt but that's ok. Liv's role was mostly to support Holt and remain open to him despite his continued eff ups. I like that role in a heroine, especially when it's accompanied by some back bone which Liv definitely had.

I love a back and forth relationship where one party is trying to resist while the other is telling them to just let go. Of course they never get it until it's too late (sort of) but the conflict is so delicious. Even though you know we're headed for a HEA, the emotional volley is still delicious to watch.

For my lovers of smoking hot steam (like me), this was like a 3.8 on the steam scale. It was nothing inspiring but it was pretty good.

This was my first "sexy nerd" read. I'm more of a bad boy type of girl but I gotta say, this totally worked for me.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

RFTC Hall Pass Event with Juliana Stone

Juliana Stone fell in love with her first book boyfriend when she was twelve. The boy was Ned, Nancy Drew’s boyfriend, and it began a lifelong obsession with books and romance. A tomboy at heart, she split her time between baseball, books, and music-three things that carried over into adulthood. She’s thrilled to be writing young adult as well as adult contemporary romance, and does so from her home somewhere in Canada.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: Love's Suicide by Jennifer Foor

Wow this book was an emotional roller coaster. Love's Suicide was beautiful and heartbreaking, and filled with hope and love. It wasn't always an easy book to get through, but it was a really great story that I couldn't put down. I will warn you that there is a ton of angst, and several things that might make readers uncomfortable. But I saw how real and vulnerable these characters were, and their story was one that I am glad I read. Jennifer Foor did a great job showing that true love never ends and always finds a way. 

Katy Michaels grew up loving Branch and Brooks Valentine. The twins were always with her, and growing up next door with their parents being best friends insured that they would always be close. Then when her parents passed away, Katy went to live with them and they became the only family she had left. Eventually Katy started seeing Branch, and it tore her relationship with Brooks apart. As she planned her life with Branch, she couldn't help but miss the connection she shared with Brooks. The night before her wedding, she knew that she was with the wrong brother and ended up in bed with Brooks. She knew the only option she had left was to run away and leave the only family she had left behind. But two years later, she found herself with a daughter and an abusive husband. When Brooks suddenly reenters her life she knows that the love they shared is still there, but with time, distance, and others between them do they have a chance at a future together? 

I loved Brooks. He was always the one that was meant for Katy, just as she was always meant to be his. These two connected on every level, and you could feel the love between them. Brooks was sweet and kind, and genuinely cared about Katy. I felt so badly for him and the pain that he must have been going through for most of his life. He had to sit back and watch the woman he loved with his brother, and yet he stayed away thinking that she would be happy. He cared so much for her that he was willing to sacrifice himself, and that absolutely broke my heart. Katy was hard to like at times if I am honest. I did feel for her as well, but she made some really terrible decisions. I was glad when she could finally be honest with herself and admit her feelings. It was clear that she always knew she was connected to Brooks, and yet she fought against anything with him for so long. These two had great chemistry and clicked physically, but their connection was so far beyond that. These two were always meant for each other, and it showed in everything that they did and said. 

Overall, this was a really great story even when it was hard to get through. It made me experience just about every emotion possible, and I felt so invested in what would happen. Jennifer Foor did a great job of tackling some serious issues and making you still want to root for these characters. They were real and flawed, and yet you could see how much they all felt. Katy was weak at times and tended to cry a lot, but she had experienced so much that would make it hard for anyone to get through. The main problem for these characters was communication. They tended to listen to others, instead of going straight to the source and I really felt like so much could have been different had they just talked. The connection between Brooks and Katy was so special though, and it was clear that the main reason for so much of their issues was outside forces that got in their way. These two could have had such a different life had they just been honest with each other and not listened to anyone else. I was really glad that they were able to work through their issues though, and that neither one of them never gave up on the other. They loved each other unconditionally and were supportive of one another no matter if they were together or apart. I will definitely be reading more from Jennifer Foor in the future, and I really love her writing style. She always writes a beautiful and emotional story that I can never put down.

**Review Copy Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | 

RFTC Hall Pass Event with Heidi Joy Tretheway

Heidi Joy Tretheway is a sucker for campfires, craft cocktails, and steamy romance in books and real life. She sings along with musicals (badly), craves French carbs, and buys plane tickets the way some women buy shoes.

Her first career as a journalist took Heidi behind the scenes with politicians, rock stars, chefs, and detectives, all of whom inspire her stories. Her books feature feisty dialogue and whip-smart characters who break rules and hearts.

Heidi Joy is currently working on her eighth book from her home in Portland, Oregon, and she adores hearing from readers.

ARC Review: Lost Wishes by Kelly Gendron

Lost Wishes is the fifth Troublemaker Series book by Kelly Gendron, but each book is a standalone. I haven't read any of the previous books, and I wasn't lost with this one. You do get to see characters from the previous books though, so fans of the series will enjoy seeing some familiar faces. I have to say that I was originally drawn to this book with the blurb, I knew it was going to be emotional and hard to get through at times and yet sometimes I apparently like to torture myself. I am kind of a sucker for broken heroes, and what is more broken than a man who loses the love of his life and only lives for revenge? 

Fallon O'Conner spends each day barely surviving. He fulfills his basic needs and waits for the man that killed his wife to be released from prison. In the three years that he has spent without his wife, Fallon has been with a lot of women yet he refuses to allow them to be at all intimate with him. He has sex, but he is strictly taking care of a physical need. But when Katie Rustle enters his life, he feels something different with her and knows that he needs to keep her far away from him. Katie was warned about the type of man that Fallon is, and she knows about his past. But she has a job to do, and she intends to see it through using everything she learned from being raised by a father that taught her being emotional was useless. But when Katie and Fallon are forced to spend more time together, they quickly begin to realize that they have no control over what is happening between them. 

I have to say that I liked Katie at times, but I also struggled with her at others. Right away she comes off as strong and independent, she goes after what she wants and doesn't put up with anyone's crap. But then in the middle of the book, I felt like she pretty much lost all that and sort of allowed Fallon to push her around. She wasn't as take charge, and it was a bit disappointing to me. I did like how she finished the book though, and I thought that she was exactly what Fallon needed. She supported him and gave him everything she could while also showing her own vulnerability. Fallon was harder for me to like, and for most of this book he was an absolute jerk. He would have a few moments that things would turn around, but there were some times when he was really hard to take. I understand that he was still grieving and had a lot of pain and anger he was dealing with, but I expected to see more change in him over the course of the book rather than just at the end. I thought that these two were good for one another and you could tell that attraction was never an issue between them. But with the character issues, it made it hard to really get behind their story.

I also had a tough time really buying into their connection and relationship, considering that the whole thing happened over the course of about two weeks. These two started off as complete strangers and then ended up in love with one another super quickly, especially for a guy that only lived for revenge for his dead wife. It felt rushed and came off as unrealistic as far as time frame goes. I think maybe if Fallon hadn't spent the majority of this story pushing Katie away and saying that he couldn't give her what she wanted, that things might have felt more believable to me. But when he spent the whole book doing those things, it was hard to believe anything would just instantly change so drastically. I also thought that this book was very repetitive when it came to the dialogue. Fallon especially was always saying almost word for word the same things, and it was very noticeable to me. Overall this book was an okay read, but if I am honest I was a bit disappointed with it. I was thinking that this story would be really emotional and deep, and it ended up coming off as predictable and rushed. There wasn't really anything new or memorable here, so while I did finish the book and found parts enjoyable it isn't one that I will probably think about or read again.

**ARC Provided by AToMR Tours**

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