Tag Archive | YA

Review: Teen Spirit

Title: Teen Spirit

Author: Francesca Lia Block 

Date of Publication: February 4th, 2014

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Goodreads Summary:

After Julie’s grandmother passes away, she is forced to move across town to the not-so-fancy end of Beverly Hills and start over at a new school. The only silver lining to the perpetual dark cloud that seems to be following her? Clark—a die-hard fan of Buffy and all things Joss Whedon, who is just as awkward and damaged as she is. Her kindred spirit.

When the two try to contact Julie’s grandmother with a Ouija board, they make contact with a different spirit altogether. The real kind. And this ghost will do whatever it takes to come back to the world of the living.

My Review:

I was pretty stoked to read this book when my friend gave it to me. I hadn’t heard of it, and you know what? It was awesome! Bring on the Ouija boards!

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What I loved best about this book was it had quirkiness, weirdness, and fun times! Julie was likable and frustrating, yet cool, all in the same package. Clark was so cute and he seriously reminded me of Duckie from Pretty in Pink!

Overall, this is a fun little mystery that still had some good emotional aspects. The writing was great and I can’t wait to read more from the author! This one will have a permanent spot on my bookshelf!

Do you believe in ghosts?

 

 

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Review: Second Star

Title: Second Star

Author: J.M. Sullivan

Date of Publication: March 5th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Wendy Darling worked her entire life to rise through the ranks of the prestigious Londonierre Brigade. Now as a Captain, she has everything she’s always wanted, including a ship and crew of her own. But when the Brigade receives a strange transmission from the legendary James Hooke, lost a hundred years earlier in uncharted space and presumed dead, Wendy is willing to risk it all to rescue her hero. She races to the planet known only as Neverland; her mission to find the long-lost crew and bring them home.

But there is more to Neverland than meets the eye, and more to Hooke than what was written in history books. When Wendy crash lands on the ominous planet, she quickly discovers Neverland’s dark secret; a malevolent being known as The Shadow that’s looking for a host body to escape its eternal prison. To fulfill her mission, Wendy must decide whether to trust the dashing Hooke or the mysterious Fleet mechanic who goes by the name of Pan–and she has to decide quickly…

Before the darkness consumes them all.

My Review:

All you had to tell me before reading this book was Peter Pan and retelling! From the opening page you get to meet Peter and Tinc, and because this setting has Space vibes, Tinc’s character was pretty dang cool! Honestly, I was a little scared about the space part, because I’ve only really liked the Lunar Chronicles. Other Sci-fi books have been too wordy and talk about crap I don’t know! But fear not, dear friends, this is a fun space ride.

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Also, you don’t only get Peter’s POV but Wendy’s. And let me tell you right now, Wendy isn’t like they frilly little girl in the movie, she’s a Captain! Yes, there’s some swoony moments. Yes, you get to hear Peter crow. Yes, you get to see some awesome side characters and an awesome scene with mermaids!

The writing was great, characters were fun, and the book kept me on my toes! The ending isn’t a bad cliffhanger, but I need the next book, like now! So let’s just say this was a fun space ride!

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What is your happy thought?

Review: The Awesome

Title: The Awesome

Author: Eva Darrows

Date of Publication: May 26th, 2015

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Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Maggie Cunningham is tough, smart, and sassy. She’s also not like other girls her age, but then, who would be when the family business is monster hunting? Combat boots, ratty hooded sweatshirts, and hair worn short so nothing with claws can get a grip, Maggie’s concerns in life slant more toward survival than fashion or boys. Which presents a problem when Maggie’s mother informs Maggie that she can’t get her journeyman’s license for hunting until she loses her virginity.

Something about virgin blood turning vampires into pointy rage monsters. Blood and gore and insides being on the outside and all that.

Maggie’s battled ghosts and goblins and her fair share of house brownies, but finding herself a boy – fitting in with her peers – proves a much more daunting task than any monster hunt. Did you know normal girls don’t stuff their bras with holy water balloons? Nor do they carry wooden stakes in their waistbands. And they care about things like “matching” and “footwear.” Of course, they also can’t clean a gun blindfolded, shoot a crossbow, or exorcise ghosts from a house. Which means they’re lame and Maggie’s not. Because Maggie’s awesome. The Awesome, in fact. Just ask her. She’d be more than happy to tell you.

After she finds herself a date.

My Review:

This book was so much fun! Maggie had Buffy vibes, but if Buffy were a normal person with an even more hilarious attitude!

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The concept felt original even though we’ve seen paranormal stuff before. The writing had kind of a Diablo Cody vibe, like if Juno and Jennifer’s Body had a baby. There was plenty of action, and the side character’s were awesome. A lot of people would probably criticize Maggie’s mom, but she was awesome! Ian was cute and had perfect swoon. Lauren was also awesome! So yeah, the book definitely deserves to be called The Awesome.

Overall the writing was smart, witty, and fun. I’ve read the Hollow Girl, which is from another one of the author’s pen names, and this was just as good even though the books are totally different! Highly recommended for some coolness!

What would be your weapon of choice against a paranormal creature?

 

Review: The Antidote

Title: The Antidote

Author: Shelley Sackier

Date of Publication: February 5th, 2019

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Goodreads Summary:

Magic is not allowed, under any circumstances — even if it could save someone’s life. Instead, there are herbal remedies and traditional techniques that have been painstakingly recorded in lieu of using the mystical arts. Fee knows this, so she keeps her magic a secret.

Except her best friend, Xavi, is deathly ill. He’s also the crown prince. Saving him is important, not only for her, but for the entire kingdom.

Fee’s desperation to save her friend means she can barely contain the magic inside her. And after the tiniest of slips, Fee is thrust into a dark and secretive world that is as alluring as it is dangerous.

If she gives in, it could mean she can save Xavi. But it also means that those who wish to snuff out magic might just snuff her out in the process.

My Review:

I absolutely loved the cover and the sound of the book! I’ll start by saying I did really like the story, and there are some twists along the way. I’m still not sure how I feel about them completely, though!

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Now the one thing I felt needed more development was the characters. I liked them, but I didn’t love them. The relationship between Xavi and Fee was such a strong friendship and probably my favorite! But I think Rye and Fee needed a bit more development because I felt her chemistry with Xavi was much more developed. Also, Xavi and his romantic interest needed something more to it as well.

The writing and world building were fabulous. Again, back to the characters, but I’m just a big character driven sort of person and there need to be a little more oomph! But if you don’t mind that sort of thing, then you’ll probably like the story!

 

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What would you do if you had magic?

Author Interview: Kathryn Lee Martin

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Sixteen-year-old Rags is the most feared Rustler in the world, and for good reason. When she’s not raiding the post-Yellowstone Kingdom’s established settlements for supplies to keep her frontier, Rondo, alive another day, she’s fending off witch hunt-happy villagers who want her rare blue eyes in an unmarked grave.

But when the Kingdom strikes back, kills Rags’s best friend, and sends its second-in-command to destroy Rondo in four days, Rags must make a choice: seek revenge, or save her loved ones who are trapped in a town bound for slaughter broadcast Kingdom-wide. With little more than a stolen dream to guide her, and a growing attraction to a sly Kingdom informant, Rags is about to give the Kingdom four days it’ll never forget—if the bounty on her head doesn’t get her killed first.

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It’s the one place no rustler ever wants to end up.

Having survived Rondo’s destruction, sixteen-year-old Rags has been taken captive by the Kingdom and sentenced to ‘rehabilitation’ at the Kingdom’s Threshing Floor, a notorious prison camp for hardened criminals. Those who refuse to serve the Kingdom go in…no one comes out.

Faced with this nightmarish reality, Rags is forced to use everything she knows as a rustler to survive against starvation, a cruel ward master, and torture at the hands of the Kingdom’s ruler, Hyperion. Given only two options—death, or conformation to the Kingdom’s ways—she’s forced to play the Kingdom’s twisted game.

With the help of the Kingdom’s second-in-command, Henrick Oreson, and its charismatic luresman, Colton Caelan Fieldson, Rags must find a way to play a convincingly false role she was never meant to play and show the Kingdom she can be ‘rehabilitated’ to its standards. But with the deciding evaluation rigged in the Kingdom’s favor, failure is imminent…unless she can find a way to turn lies into truth and achieve the impossible: actually, escape the Threshing Floor.

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Author Interview:

What gave you the idea to write The Bone Roses?

I’ve always been a fan of futuristic “what if” stories which led to my love of wanting to write one of my own. I tend to favor underdogs and rebels in most of my works and wanted to put myself in the shoes of a young outlaw who might be struggling in a grim future where the law has gotten out of hand to the point where every day is a test of survival. I also have a love affair with the Yellowstone supervolcano, which lead me to base the story on the “what if” aftermath of such an eruption should one ever take place. I grew up with fantasy stories and in a small town and have always loved westerns so I decided to combine elements of them to create a dark world reflective of that. What I ended up with was The Bone Roses.

Who is your favorite character in The Bone Roses?

Even though I adore writing the stories from Rags’s perspective and I have so many favorites in the story, if I have to pick one, it would have to be Henny. Henny is such a versatile character to write and he’s got a lot of secrets to explore. He has two sides to him, the soldier capable of commanding the Kingdom Corps, and a much softer, rarely seen human side to him. He has a lot of personality for a young man who plays a mostly villain role in The Bone Roses, but as the series unfolds, you see a different side to his motives for being the way he is. He’s also just fun to write, especially his interactions with Rags and Colton.

Did you always know The Bone Roses would be a series?

No. Originally The Bone Roses was supposed to be a stand-alone story with a very different ending than the one it currently has. As I sat down to actually write it though, things just sort of got out of hand and the characters wouldn’t cooperate so it sort of took on a life of its own and became a series. In a way I’m glad that it worked out that way as I adore these characters, but it was unexpected at the time.

Do you outline before you write or just go for it?

A little bit of both actually. I’ll start with a reasonably long, fairly detailed outline, but that usually ends up getting away from me because of my characters doing what they want to do in the story. I do keep an outline of the entire series overview to stick to as much as possible so I know where I am at any given point and how to get to the next arc in the story, giving it some structure, but when it comes to each individual book, it’s anyone’s guess what’s going to happen since some parts I just go for and they work.

Garden of Ashes, the sequel to The Bone Roses is about to release, do you have a favorite between the two?

Between the two of them, I prefer Garden of Ashes. Not that The Bone Roses isn’t a good book, because it is in its own right, but when it comes to character development, a few key characters take the spotlight in Garden of Ashes and we get a more in-depth view into their personal lives. Henny and Colton are good examples of this and the stakes are considerably higher in Garden of Ashes than they were in The Bone Roses. It changes the perspective of how Rags views them from how they were portrayed in The Bone Roses. We also see Rags mature quite a bit in Garden of Ashes.

Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

I have a few. I tend a small hobby farm with a goat, donkey, border collie, and four cats. I also enjoy gardening, especially with my rose bushes. When I’m not doing that, on my limited free time, I can be found playing video games.

What’s your favorite color?

I have quite a few favorite colors (lavender purple, sage green, cyan blue, and silver) but if I have to pick one, I love the color cyan blue. It’s just one of those cool colors that I’ve always liked.

What other upcoming books do you have planned?

There are two more books in the Snow Spark Saga planned. They are Stars Over Zephyr and Count the Rain. I also have another super-secret, special project I’m ultra-excited about and have been working on called Phirestag. It’s a higher level of steampunk fantasy and the first in a series known as the TimeFeather Chronicles that I’m hoping to share with the world relatively soon. Beyond that, there are a few other projects in the works, but right now my focus is on the Snow Spark Saga and TimeFeather Chronicles.

If you could re-read one book forever, which one would it be?

Quite honestly, this was a tough one because I haven’t really found that one special book yet that I’d want to re-read forever. One of these days I’ll find it but for now, I’m just enjoying the wide variety of amazing works that many amazing writers are putting out there into the world.

What advice do you have for other writers?

Practice your craft as much as you can and don’t let the bad parts about it discourage you from writing. It’s tough out there in the publishing world and not everyone is going to like your work, accept it, want to read it, etc. Many people will love it of course, so don’t think it’s all doom and gloom because it isn’t but writing is not for the faint of heart. You will have days where you feel like giving up, aren’t good enough, and so on. Just remember during those times that you’re writing, you’re creating something amazing, and it’s all being done by you. Enjoy the journey. Learn to dance with the words you’re writing. Embrace your craft and realize that no matter what, you’re a writer and one way or another, you’re going to make it. You have something only you can write to share with the world and that makes it all the more special.

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Author Bio:

Kathryn Lee Martin, known as ‘Ryn’ by friends and colleagues, spends her days saddling up the literary horse and hitting the “what if” trails on a quest to tell the outlaws’ and underdogs’ stories. Not one to shy away from the darker side of stories for the older young adult audience, her works often explore impossible odds and dire futures, falling into a fusion of post-apocalyptic science fiction meets the gritty lawlessness of the old west with a dash of fantasy and steampunk. Putting her unfortunate characters in situations where faith and fighting often go hand in hand, she’s not afraid to make things difficult for them and when she’s not corrupting society on paper, she’s usually leading the rebellion to save it.

Connect with Kathryn:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RynSageQuill/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RynSageQuill

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rynsagequill/

Website: https://www.rynleewrites.com/

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What kind of world would you want the future to have?

Author Interview: Brandy Woods Snow

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Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star QB, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—but his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares, probably because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love really exist if it’s all built on a lie?

 

Author Interview: Brandy Woods Snow, author of MEANT TO BE BROKEN (a Carolina Clay novel) released July 2018 from Filles Vertes Publishing

What was the inspiration for Meant to be Broken?
I originally wrote a prologue for MEANT TO BE BROKEN more than 12 years ago while sitting in a tiny, blue cubicle on my lunch break from a corporate job. I sent the file to my email where I let it sit until 2015 when I finally began writing the actual story. (Ironically that terrible prologue didn’t make the cut!) I guess my inspiration really came from something as simple as wanting to write a small-town love story. It was when I actually started writing that some of the underlying themes began to come out—the love/hate relationship with a small town; Southern culture and how it affects expectations of behavior; the thin line between truth and lies; and even religious undercurrents. Growing up in a place where everyone knows your name can be both comforting and constricting. I found my characters doing exactly what I was doing at the time of writing—stepping out of “my box” and embracing my true self. Some people support that, and some people don’t.

Do you have a favorite character in your book? Who and why?
Of course, I love both Rayne and Gage. They are so special to me (see how I talk about them like actual people?). If I have to choose, though, I’d say Rayne, for the simple fact that she reminds me so much of myself. She tries to be confident but the insecurities creep in; She has strong opinions but she’s afraid to voice them all the time; She says she doesn’t care what people think of her but she spends her life worrying what everyone will say. I like to think that while I was writing this, she and I grew up together and finally found our true selves.

Do you usually outline or just go with it?
The first draft of MEANT TO BE BROKEN was completely pantsted. I had an overall idea of what I wanted the main turning points to be, but that was pretty much it. After that first draft “wasn’t working” though, I took it back to basics and plotted out some new scenes and put it all into a very formulaic pattern. The flow and pacing improved significantly. It was a learning curve. As I write now, I plot most scenes and turning points with the plot and character advancement goals for each, but I can honestly say I’m not tied to anything. If I begin writing and a character begins pulling me in their own direction, I go. It’s more important to be true to the character and story than some random notecard I put together in the beginning.

Without me giving spoilers, did you always know who Rayne would end up with or did you question yourself at time?
I always knew it would be HIM.  I’m a bleeding heart romantic who fully believes that the decision your heart (not your head) makes is the right one—you know, that whole “love” versus “in love” thing. The guy Rayne chooses in the end is the one who knew her—all of her—and still wanted more. He wasn’t the popular choice, but he was her choice. Rayne had to learn to get herself and other people out of her own way to become the person she was meant to be in order for it to finally work. Sounds easy enough, right? But try growing up in a small town where everyone has an opinion. Sometimes it becomes a matter of “do I live their version of life?” or “do I live mine?” When Rayne finally makes that decision, the choice is clear.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Since age 4 when I read THE POKEY LITTLE PUPPY. It was the first book I ever read by myself, and I was sold on the wonder of books. At age 6, I begin typing out stories on a typewriter and illustrating them. I dabbled in poetry a bit in elementary school and wrote several emotionally-charged pieces about navigating bullies in high school. I majored in English and Writing at Clemson, though I pursued a journalism focus since everyone warned me that you can’t expect to make a living writing books. I’ve worked in corporate communications, marketing, and magazine writing/editorial for nearly 18 years now but the desire to write a novel never left me. In 2015, I moved that dream off the back burner, and here we are today.

What’s your favorite book you’ve read this year? And what’s your favorite book ever?
My favorite book I’ve read this year has to be WORDS IN DEEP BLUE by Cath Crowley because it deals with true love finding its way back after so many emotional hurdles. And who doesn’t adore love letters?
I have two favorite books of all time: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (obviously) and THE GRAPES OF WRATH. I’ve always adored these books and now, looking back, I can guess why. One deals with finding love and one deals with emotional suffering and finding your way as a family through various trials. Both are right up my alley.
What future books do you have planned next?
I’m currently writing Book 2 in the Carolina Clay series, which will focus on the rejected brother and his HEA/HFN.
I’m also querying another completed YA contemporary romance as we speak and have put down extensive notes and a rough first chapter on “the book of my heart” that deals heavily with an issue close/dear to me. I’m being intentionally vague here because right now, I’m keeping it under wraps. 

If you could live in any year or another fantasy world, what would it be?
I’ve always thought it would be so much fun to live in the 1950s and 60s with all the big hair-dos and drive-ins and rock and roll music. Maybe that’s from listening to a crap-ton of oldies growing up? LOL

I know you’re a Southern girl, what’s your favorite part about it?
The lifestyle. I feel like I have the best of all worlds here. From big city to rural backroads, you can go from one extreme to the other in a matter of miles. The food. The weather. The fact that strangers still wave to each other and say hello. The unique places. My biggest dream is to drive cross-country and see everything America has to offer, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the South (and more specifically, South Carolina) is my home and my heart.

What’s your favorite color?
I have two, blue (any hue) and orange (Clemson Tiger orange, to be specific!).

If you were trapped on an island with one person, one object, and one food, what would they be?
This is so easy—my husband, notebooks (and pens!), and macaroni and cheese (not the box variety but the good Southern kind in a casserole dish).

Do you have any advice for other writers out there?
There are four points of advice I always tell writers, and I don’t foresee this ever changing.
1. Find your tribe
Critique partners are the bee’s knees, y’all! Don’t trust yourself to see all the mistakes and plot holes in your own work because it’s not going to happen. The book you’re writing is already in your brain but you cannot see if you’re translating it to the paper efficiently. Fresh eyes make all the difference. Find a core group of honest, talented CP’s and your writing life will change for the better!
2. Read in your genre
Please do this. You want to learn how to show and not tell? Read. You want to know how to develop character voice? Read. You want more information on building character motivation? Read. See what other authors are doing. See what publishers are looking for. Gather all this great information while also taking in a great story, and then use that to hone your own craft. Gold mine!
3. Throw away limitations
You know that whole quote about “dance like no one’s looking”? Well, modify that to “write like no one’s looking.” I can’t tell you how many times in the beginning I found myself censoring my own words because someone I knew might not like what I was saying. For real, y’all. There goes those weight of expectations again, thrown all over your shoulders. Brush that junk off and write what’s in your heart. Quit caring if Aunt “sew and sew” will banish you to Hell or tell the Ladies League about your “free-wheeling” style. WRITE.WHAT.YOU.WANT.
4. Persevere
You’re going to want to give up. You’re going to feel defeated, rejected, worn out, and sometimes unloved. It’s a part of the whole experience. But this is your dream. Remember that when the sucky stuff happens. And just like I tell my kids, “Any dream worth having is worth fighting for.” It’s not going to be easy…it’s not supposed to be. If it were easy, everyone would do it. You are not “everyone.” You’re an author, so get back up and see this through!

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About Brandy:

Brandy Woods Snow is an author and journalist born, raised and currently living in beautiful Upstate South Carolina. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a minor in Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing has always been her first love, the media has been her home for more than 17 years, during which time she has built a strong platform that includes articles in Delta Sky, Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Home Design & Décor magazine (Charlotte, Raleigh). She has also worked in corporate communications, public relations and business development for international and regional companies. Her first novel Meant To Be Broken, the first book in the Carolina Clay series, was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in July 2018.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her military husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

Social Media Links:

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Review: Relics of the Underworld

Title: Relics of the Underworld

Author: Alexa Whitewolf

Date of Publication: August 21st, 2018

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Freya and Brennan barely have time to settle in their new romance when tragedy strikes. Sick of waiting for the axe to drop, Freya convinces her partner it’s time to fight back. Armed with only the knowledge gained from their respective objects of the power, the two start on a perilous journey to find and destroy the Relics of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, they are not the only ones in search of the mythical treasures. The demon Raksh, more determined than ever to free Set, comes up with his most evil plan yet.

From Scotland to Slovakia and Egypt, this last installment is packed with action and surprises at every turn., while the gods observe their champions and each challenge they face. As Freya and Brennan get closer to their goal, neither is aware of the ultimate sacrifice awaiting them – nor the ancient god pulling their strings.

My Review:

This final installment was just as awesome as the last two, and it left me with all sorts of feels! Seriously, these characters are my little babies. Bren and Freya are such great characters! Their chemistry is just perfect!

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What I love best is that this series is YA and actually feels like YA. What I mean is the teens act like teens and not like they’re twenty years older. You get action, history, unique stuff—what’s not to like? Now, I want to go travel the world—like right now!

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What countries have you been to?