Archive | March 2017

Review: The Castaways

Title: The Castaways

Author: Jessika Fleck

Date of Publication: April 3rd, 2017


Goodreads Summary:

Mean Girls meets Lord of the Flies in this YA contemporary fantasy.

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.

My Review:

The Castaways was a very interesting ride. I have never read Lord of the Flies sadly, so not sure about that, but I definitely got the Mean Girls vibe in the beginning. This trio of girls puts the ladies from Mean Girls to shame!


Photo Credit

First off, I am not sure why everyone acted like the name Olive is a pun? I like the name! So, basically, Olive goes to this carnival to meet her friend and runs into the trio where they hunt her down through a corn maze. Somehow Olive gets transported to a mysterious island, where she runs into a group of other kids that have been trapped there for a while.

The whole island situation was pretty cool, and I loved the cast of side characters. Especially Tilly, Bug, and Charlie! Will becomes more than just a friend, and he is pretty awesome!

There were a couple of clichéd lines that I was slightly annoyed with, like how the main guy always has some kind of crooked nose that looks like it has been broken or a look that the main character can not decipher. I can push those things aside because the plot was interesting! There was also a twist that I actually did not see coming! Overall, a pretty good read!


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Review: The Forgetting

Title: The Forgetting

Author: Sharon Cameron

Date of Publication: September 13th, 2016

Goodreads Summary:

What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person’s memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

My Review:

All smirks aside, because this book is filled with Gray and his smirks, I could over pass that annoying over smirkiness, because I loved this book! I wasn’t sure at first, because Nadia took a little bit for me to like her character, but she really grows throughout the book.


Photo Credit

I was addicted to finding out what the mystery was behind the Forgetting, and why people lose their memories every twelve years. When everything unravels, it was like opening a lovely present. The villain is a real piece of work! As for the side characters, Genivee was awesome!

The romance was so sweet. I loved Gray and Nadia together! I felt they brought out the best in each other. The book itself has a nice slow and steady stroll, but I wasn’t bored one bit. When it gets toward the end, things get all kinds of crazy! I definitely recommend reading this one!


How does this book sound to you?

All Closed Off: Cover & Release Reveal




From New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack, comes the highly anticipated fourth standalone title in her Rusk University Series, ALL CLOSED OFF! A passionate story and journey, get ready to be mesmerized with Stella’s story! ALL CLOSED OFF is coming your way May 1, 2017!




Cover Design and Photography by Kelsey Kukal-Keeton at K. Keeton Designs

ABOUT ALL CLOSED OFF (Releasing May 1, 2017):

Stella Santos is fine.

Maybe something terrible happened to her that she can’t even remember. And maybe it drives her crazy when her friends treat her like she’s on the verge of breaking because of it. Maybe it feels even worse when they do what she asks and pretend that it never happened at all. And maybe she’s been getting harassing emails and messages for months from people who don’t even know her, but hate her all the same.

But none of that matters because she’s just fine.

For Ryan Blake, Stella was always that girl. Vibrant and hilarious and beautiful. He wanted her as his best friend. His more than friends. His everything and anything that she would give him. Which these days is a whole lot of nothing. She gets angry when he’s there. Angry when he’s not there. Angry when he tries to talk and when he doesn’t.

When Stella devises an unconventional art project for one of her classes all about exploring intimacy—between both friends and strangers—Ryan finds himself stepping in as guinea pig after one of her subjects bails. What was supposed to be an objective and artistic look at emotion and secrets and sex suddenly becomes much more personal. When he hits it off with another girl from the project, Stella will have to decide if she’s willing to do more than make art about intimacy. To keep him, she’ll have to open up and let herself be the one thing she swore she’d never be again.




ALL CLOSED OFF - full cover wrap


Add it to your Goodreads



ALL CLOSED OFF - Announcement Teaser


Don’t Miss All of Cora’s Standalone Rusk University Series Titles!



Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes


Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes




Cora Carmack - author picAbout Cora Carmack:

Cora Carmack is a twentysomething New York Times bestselling author who likes to write about twentysomething characters. Raised in a small Texas town, she now lives in New York City and spends her time writing, traveling, and marathoning various TV shows on Netflix. She lives by one rule: embrace whatever the world throws at you and run with it (just not with scissors).






Website | Facebook | Twitter | Cora Carmack Goodreads



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Myths & Legends: Book Blitz + Giveaway

Myths & Legends banner

Today is my stop during the book blitz for the Myths & Legends Boxed Set. This is the third post during this tour. This book blitz is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours.

I’m introducing a few of the participating authors and showcasing some of their books/back catalogue as well as some graphics for this box set.

Myths & Legends is a compilation of 20 Full-Length Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy reads currently available to pre-order for only 99c, including works from New York Times, USA Today, Bestselling, and various Award-Winning authors! Details of how you can pre-order this special box set are included at the bottom of this post. First off, let’s meet some of these amazing authors!

Meet Genevieve Jack

Genevieve Jack

Genevieve Jack is the international bestselling author of weird, witty, and wicked-hot paranormal romance. Coffee and wine are her biofuel, the love lives of vampires, shifters, and witches her favorite topic of conversation. She harbors a passion for old cemeteries and ghost tours thanks to her years at a high school rumored to be haunted. Although she calls the Midwest home, her heart belongs to the beaches of the southeast, where she spends her days with her laptop and one lazy dog.

You can learn more about Genevieve Jack on her website.

Check out her book Vice!


Some cravings can’t be denied.

Werewolf Laina Flynn longs to break from the patriarchal expectations of Fireborn pack. But when a wolf is found murdered on Fireborn shifting grounds, Laina will do anything to protect her pack, even if it means posing as a waitress at a club that flies in the face of her feminist ideals. Unfortunately, her inner wolf marks the club’s owner, Kyle “The King” Kingsley, as her vice—her metaphysical addiction. He becomes a hunger she can’t ignore…one that could threaten her life, her family, and her pack.

Meet Siobhan Davis

Siobhan Davis

Siobhan Davis writes emotionally intense young adult fiction with swoon-worthy romance, complex characters, and tons of unexpected plot twists and turns that will have you flipping the pages beyond bedtime! She is the author of the Amazon bestselling True Calling and Saven series.

You can learn more about Siobhan Davis on her website.

Check out her book Saven Deception!

Saven Deception


I’ve fallen hard for an alien, but he’s harboring secrets.

Massive secrets that threaten the very essence of humanity.

How can I give him my heart when his race plans on taking my future?

Meet S.L. Morgan

S.L. Morgan

International award winning author S.L. Morgan was born and raised in California. After 29 years of living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains there, she and her husband began their journeys of moving throughout the United States. Recently, S.L. Morgan and her family have returned back to their hometown of Oakhurst, Ca.

You can learn more about S.L. Morgan on her website.

Check out her book The Legacy of the Key!

The Legacy of the Key

Your journey to a whimsical dimension is one click away!

Reece Bryant is an average college student on Earth, or so she thought.

After setting out to finish settling the last of her father’s estate, she is not only faced with the grief of the horrific loss of her father again, but bizarre paranormal events that eventually lead her into a thrilling, yet terrifying situation.

Meet J.L. Hendricks

J.L. Hendricks

J.L. Hendricks is an independent author who enjoys many genres, as evidenced by her catalog of available books. She is currently focused on Scifi and Urban Fantasy, but has also written Paranormal and Christmas books.

Her latest series is a combination of litRPG and Military Scifi with a few space pirates for fun! Let her know what you think!

You can learn more about J.L. Hendricks on her website.

Check out her book Magic’s Not Real!

Magic’s Not Real

Do magic, vampires, and shifters really exist in the seedy underbelly of New Orleans?

Jenna is many things, Lead singer in the all-girls band Voodoo Dolls, shopkeeper extraordinaire, and sister to three awesome orphans, but what she isn’t is a wizard. Because magic isn’t real and people who think it’s real are posers, drunks, and the best customers at the Voodoo Doll House.

Until, you know, someone hits her with a death curse.

Pre-order Myths & Legends for 0.99$!

Myths & Legends

The MYTHS & LEGENDS Boxed Set is a compilation of 20 Full-Length Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy reads, including works from USA Today bestsellers, Bestselling Harlequin authors, and various Award-Winning authors!

You can pre-order Myths & Legends for only 0.99$ here:


Barnes & Noble



Check out some of the pretty graphics for this box set and pre-order your copy today!



During the book blitz for Myths & Legends there’s a tour wide giveaway! These are the prizes you can win:

– 5 Myths & Legends Boxsets

– 3 $10 Amazon Gift Cards

– Various signed paperbacks by the participating authors


For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Release Launch: The Hard Truth About Sunshine




The Hard Truth About Sunshine AMAZON

New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett has written her most gripping and poignant tale yet. Provocatively heart-breaking, audaciously irreverent and romantically fulfilling, The Hard Truth About Sunshine exposes just how very thin the line is between a full life and an empty existence.

Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.

What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?

He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination. They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love. And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.

The hard truth about sunshine…
Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

Amazon | Paperback | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo




THTAS Teaser #7



AuthorPhotoSince the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.



How does this book sound to you?

But Then I Came Back: Author Interview + Giveaway


About the Book:



Author: Estelle Laure

Pub. Date: April 4, 2017

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Pages: 512

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads


Eden Jones, a 17-year-old girl, feels lost after surviving a near fatal accident. Unable to connect with her family and friends, Eden forms an unlikely relationship with Joe, a boy who comes to the hospital to visit Jasmine, a friend who may soon be gone forever. Eden is the only person who can get through to Jasmine, but is she brave enough to face a world that’s bigger and more magical than she ever would have allowed?


Author Interview:

What gave you the idea for But Then I Came Back?

Well, I was working on a whole other book about love and romanticism and one of my best friends committed suicide. I continued trying to write the other book, but I was plagued by questions of life and death and why it is we persist in living when it’s so hard sometimes. I was constantly pondering my own passion for life and arguing both sides with myself. The other book just wasn’t coming together and I was destroyed so I wasn’t producing the way I wanted to be. I finally gave in and poured all my grief and confusion into this book. Yeah, you’re welcome.

What is Eden’s greatest strength and weakness?

I think her greatest strength is her openness to wisdom. She likes books and information and thinking about existential concepts. That makes her interesting to me and strong as a person because she can take things in and grow. Her weakness has to do with ignorance. She hasn’t lived much of a life. She hasn’t traveled or experienced much diversity or economic strife. She’s been mollycoddled by adoring parents. Except for a single experience of rejection, until her accident she’s been unchallenged which makes her unable to understand things in a real way which is why the whole thing is such a shock.

When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?

When I was six I used to write stories while we drove around in a VW bus. Over time I was around people who I thought were better and more creative than me and I dropped it, only picking it up again after I had my son. I don’t know what clicked, but I have written in some form or another every day since and I’m totally serious when I say if I never published again in my life I would write every day anyway.

What is your favorite book so far that you have read this year?

Like 2017? I really loved UNDERWATER by Marisa Reichart. Totally devastating and beautiful. I also read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance and think pretty much anyone living in America should read it.

Can you tell us a little more about Joe from But Then I Came Back?

Joe is quiet, thoughtful, great with his hands. He doesn’t get sucked into normal guy games. He doesn’t like sports or video games and is used to hard work. He likes flowers and plants and cars. He is loyal, so loyal that the thought of falling in love while his friend is struggling between life and death feels like a betrayal. He takes things seriously but can be playful. He comes from a mixed background. He has seen strife and doesn’t trust the system. He doesn’t know if he believes in God. He can’t figure out how the world could be so cruel. He’s thin and cut from hard work and when he has kids he will make sure they’re cut and thin from hard work, too. He’s not going to be following any YouTubers any time soon.

Do any of the characters from But Then I Came Back have characteristics from people you know in real life?

Sure. Things always leak in there, but if I try to make them exactly like a real person it becomes limiting because I feel I need to protect them or do them justice and I always fail. Gigi is probably the most based on a real person. George was my grandmother’s best friend was from Martinique, a woman who read cards and talked to ghosts. Her apartment was full of owls and she seemed more in the spirit world than on earth. She was extremely feisty and I was totally fascinated as a little kid. When my father read this book he wrote back and said, “It was nice to see George again…I mean Gigi.”



About Estelle:

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children.

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a hardcover of BUT THEN I CAME BACK, US Only.


Rafflecopter Code: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule: 

Week One:

3/27/2017- Literary Dust– Interview

3/28/2017- The Best Books Ever – Review

3/29/2017- Novel Novice– Guest Post

3/30/2017- Portrait of a Book– Review

3/31/2017- Literary Meanderings– Excerpt

Week Two:

4/3/2017- YA Book Madness– Review

4/4/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Review

4/5/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Interview

4/6/2017- Just Commonly– Review

4/7/2017- Wandering Bark Books– Excerpt



How does this book sound to you?

“Carve The Mark” by Veronica Roth



The cover, especially once you learn what this phrase refers to, is stunning.


I’d found in my NPR feed a story about a book based on chronic pain from a female perspective. A science fiction book based on it. There was no way I wasn’t going to read this.

It is what it says it is, and if you aren’t a big science fiction fan, this isn’t for you. It doesn’t get lost in too many details, but because this is almost an anthropological science fiction book, there is a learning curve on trying to get people acclimated to the new world rules. And it is a long read.

Everyone gets a magic power. It’s part of a “current” running through the worlds. All of them are unique.

The story follows two teens from two very different, and now warring cultures: Cyra Noavek (who appears as first-person) and Akos Kereseth (his p.o.v. is always second person). Cyra is from the nomadic and often displaced and abused Shotet. The Shotet are currently on the cold home planet of the less war-like more farm-oriented Thuve. Akos is Thuvesit, and being the oracle’s son, is captured and put into service for Cyra.

Cyra’s gift inflicts horrible pain on anyone touching her. And, as a result, she herself is in dire pain every second. Akos was given the power of interrupting everyone’s current gift-his touch can stop her misery. That is an interesting dynamic to read about. The way Cyra is dismissed and expected just to keep up while suffering is pretty realistic in terms of how women are called upon with withstand agony we probably couldn’t even explain.

If you haven’t heard already, this book came with some controversy. Roth is accused of being racist because Cyra, our warrior in the story, is dark-skinned and Akos and his people appear to generally be less so-although it is stated in the book there is no one look for either the Shotet or the Thuve. To think that, you have to be able to say you read the book and thought Cyra’s character was undesirable or flat or that the Shotet were. Cyra Noavek is the most powerful figure in the book. While used as a weapon by her abusive ruling family, she rebels against that purpose. Even when it costs her nearly everything.

The Shotet themselves are not this mess of hot-headed warriors but are under a dictator-like regime by a horrible figure. They have rebels fighting against the regime, too. It’s explained that they lost their homeland, their children, their everything and vowed to be able to defend themselves. As a result, they are overall very tough. You can see similar things in Riddick for example and even Dune. I am all for team kick-ass culture. I don’t think these things are inherently bad or evil and so having a hero born into one can’t be that way, either.

On the other hand, I can get why this might be a problem in our cultural climate. And, in some places in the book, I honestly had moments of “why would she write that??!”.

The worst for me was when Cyra’s mother was dressing her for an important meeting, and pulled her hair back, saying that she didn’t want the first thing these people noticed to be her wild hair.

Ouch. As a disclaimer, I grew up in a dysfunctional family where nobody looked like me. And I have insane hair. It was the first thing they always attacked, the first thing everyone tried to change or silence about me.

There is a possibility I read into it wrong, and maybe it’s a statement about Cyra’s mother’s undesirable character. She did, after all, allow her son to be tormented by his father until he was a monster.

But I darn sure didn’t want to read that in this book.

If you can get past some of that, which I’ll admit should have been cut in editing, you have a decent story about two youngsters from different cultures crossing a divide of danger and understanding in order to help and love each other. That is a good message. Overall, I still recommend it. It’s not perfect, though. And maybe future installments can be dealt with better.


March Library Finds

Happy Spring. It already feels like Summer here in Texas. So, we’ve spent a good portion of it at the air-conditioned book field we call the local library.

First, I wanted to share a couple of cute adult level books, because really I think I grab one book for us for every ten I grab my kids (most of that is they have more time to read, with it being a daily requirement at their school…That almost makes me want to go back to school). But I did manage to get two good ones this time.

The first I reserved, it’s comedian Jim Gaffigan’s “Dad is Fat”.


My husband and I love Jim. He’s relatable and centered in a large family. Few people understand the love and the flipping chaos of that these days: and trust me, those of us living it need some laughs. It was Gaffigan who said large families are like waterbed stores, they used to be everywhere, and now they’re just weird…Anyway, if you love his stand-up, you need this in your life.

The second book I happened upon by accident as I was leaving the library and went back around in line to check it out. “Murder in the House of Rooster Happiness” by David Casarett has a striking cover and it’s about a Thai nurse named Ladarat who has to act like a detective. It’s exotic, it’s thoughtful, it’s a wonderful little escape I recommend for people who love things in the vein of Agatha Christie, and it has such a wonderful viewpoint.


For my older children, we found “Arthur and the Golden Rope” by Joe Todd-Stanton, and “Futhermore” by Tahereh Mafi. Both high magical and adventurous, and dealing with the bravery it takes a young person to prove themselves. My son was very happy with Nordic based tale and lovely illustrations of “Arthur and the Golden Rope”, and for any child interested in that mythology this is a great pick.


“Furthermore” was more the speed of my eldest daughter, who was instantly in love with the cover art and opening pages. It’s a nice story for upper-elementary students, that is for sure.


And, finally, for our littlest reader, we chose a traditionally illustrated Easter board book. It’s longer than most, but the pictures kept my toddler still. Other than Beatrix Potter, we don’t have a lot of stories and art like this. The style is still around, but not as popular as in the past, so we liked the idea of introducing it to babies and toddlers. Jan Brett’s “The Easter Egg” is so lovely and intricate to look at that I could see an adult getting lost in the illustrations of this board book. Great find for the holiday that will be upon us soon.


Happy book hunting!







Review: Open When


About Open When

Happiness expert Karen Salmansohn presents a unique interactive book that invites readers to literally open letters of encouragement, wit, and wisdom whenever they need a boost.

Inspired by the trend of “open when” letters sweeping the nation, Instant Happy author Karen Salmansohn has created a bound collection of 12 notes for readers to flip open whenever they need a pep talk. With categories like “Open when you need a laugh,” “Open when you’re feeling stressed out,” and “Open when you need courage,” these little happiness-boosters are based on Salmansohn’s viral posters that combine witty sayings with colorful graphics.

My Review:

The book itself is a cute book, but I feel like I would’t want to spend money buying it, when I could just make something like it myself. I did like the envelope open when someone is being mean that one summed it up pretty good.

Some of the drawings inside were cute, but others looked dated. A better artist would have helped out the book a lot. Overall it is a short and cute read. I am not sure the envelopes would really help me get past how I am feeling, but they may help others.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.


Review: A Darker Shade of Magic

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic

Author: V.E. Schwab

Date of Publication: February 24th, 2015

a darker

Goodreads Summary:

Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

My Review:

I actually did not finish the book the first time I tried to read it a long time ago, but to be fair, I didn’t make it that far to begin with. I was confused, and my mind may have not been in the right place. I read This Savage Song not long ago and loved it, so I thought I would give this book one more shot, and I’m glad I took the chance!

After I got through the part about understanding that there are four different London’s, which are Black, Grey, White, and Red, I could focus on the characters. I loved Kell, and I loved Lila. Occasionally, there were other point of views sprinkled into the mix along with the two main characters.


Photo Credit

MAGIC! There was a lot of magic going on, and it was awesome! Lila was probably my favorite character because even with the choices she makes, she still has a heart hidden inside her chest. Her personality rocked!

This book was just all kinds of awesome, and while it didn’t end on a cliffhanger, it left me with enough where I can’t wait to read the next book. Loved it!


Have you read this series?