Book Tour, Reviews

The Speed of Falling Objects ( + Giveaway!)

From the author of When Elephants Fly comes an exceptional new novel about falling down, risking everything and embracing what makes us unique. Don’t miss this compulsively readable novel about the most unlikely of heroes.

Danger “Danny” Danielle Warren is no stranger to falling. After losing an eye in a childhood accident, she had to relearn her perception of movement and space. Now Danny keeps her head down, studies hard, and works to fulfill everyone else’s needs. She’s certain that her mom’s bitterness and her TV star father’s absence are her fault. If only she were more-more athletic, charismatic, attractive-life would be perfect.

When her dad calls with an offer to join him to film the next episode of his popular survivalist show, Danny jumps at the chance to prove she’s not the disappointment he left behind. Being on set with the hottest teen movie idol of the moment, Gus Price, should be the cherry on top. But when their small plane crashes in the Amazon, and a terrible secret is revealed, Danny must face the truth about the parent she worships and falling for Gus, and find her own inner strength and worth to light the way home.

Goodreads | Amazon

Whew! What a whirlwind of a book!

The Speed of Falling Objects takes off at light speed and does not slow down even once. This story was swift, well-paced, and a thrilling survival tale of a family doing whatever it takes. I had ups and downs with this story, but overall- a frightening, wild tale. Starting the first page off with a plane crash sure does jump-start a book!

The best thing about this book was the rich, descriptive, immersive world that the author creates in the boundless Amazon Rainforest. What seems like such a beautiful and rich place, full of all kinds of different life forms that continue to flourish, proves to be a much less hospitable place than I imagined. For instance: when so much of what’s around you is poisonous, how do you find anything to eat? I’d never thought about that before.

Fischer has a great writing style that clicked well with me too. Her writing simple, straight-forward, and focused. This made it so easy and effortless to read and I flew through this YA contemporary survival story.

My only struggle was that I profoundly disliked one of the characters, the main character’s father. I’ve read some other reviews that struggled with the same character, which leads me to believe- maybe that was the point? Were we supposed to hate him? I’m not sure but, regardless, he will not win father of the year.

Overall, this was a fast, fun, and crazy ride through the jungle at top speed and I flew through this book. If you like thrilling survival tales, this book might be for you. If you like complex characters that make you feel conflicted, this book would be right up your alley.

Check it out for yourself! This one hits shelves tomorrow.

I’m a published author with children’s, teen and adult titles including: The Golden Globe, Lyric’s World and Promises (Junior Jedi Knights Trilogy) for LucasFilm (Berkeley Press), Feel No Fear, The Power, Passion and Politics of a Life in Gymnastics (Hyperion), Monica: From Fear to Victory (HarperCollins), A Journey: The Autobiography of Apolo Anton Ohno (Simon & Schuster), Nadia Comaneci: Letters to a Young Gymnast (Basic Books), and Winning Every Day with Shannon Miller (Bantam Books). 

I’ve written for a circus, a graduate school, tried my hand at waitressing (I was terrible!), baking carrot cakes (I was messy but good!), and been lucky enough to ultimately do what I love – write.

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and our mostly wonderful (but sometimes vorpal) Vizsla. When I’m not conjuring a story, I love to kite-board, bike, ski or plan adventures with my two guys, who both make me laugh for different reasons and are the best partners in fun a gal could ever imagine.

If you want to learn more about my latest novel, When Elephants Fly (publication date September 04, HarperCollins/Harlequin Teen), please visit my website!

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Enter to win a copy of The Speed of Falling Objects by Nancy Richardson Fischer!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 10/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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Happy Monday! x – A

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Book Tour, Reviews

Shadow Frost ( + Giveaway!)

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 

Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 

Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

From young author Coco Ma comes a dazzling new tale of adventure, power, and betrayal, weaving together a stunning world of magic with a killer cast in an explosive, unforgettable debut.

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Where do I start with Coco Ma’s stunning new fantasy debut, Shadow Frost? Because there is so much to talk about.

Let’s start with my favorite thing about this book: the people in it. Within the first half of this book I had already decided that I would read the rest in the series, simply because I grew so attached to the characters that the story centers around.

Our main character, Asterin, Princess of Axaria, could so easily have fallen into the “Mary Sue” or “Chosen Princess” stereotypical character role and not been much else. But Asterin is no pushover Princess who’s going to follow the “rules” of whatever this “genre” thing is. Her world is complicated, dangerous and dark and she has no time to be anyone but herself. Asterin is fierce, headstrong, and more than anything else- relatable. Flawed and imperfect, all she wants is to live up to her mother’s legacy and be the Queen her people deserve. Like most of us though, she doesn’t know exactly how to do that and makes choices and mistakes that lead her down a winding and completely unforeseen journey instead. This felt so true to life for me, watching Asterin try and find her footing amidst so much uncertainty and danger and, of course, dark magic.

The supporting cast are nothing to scoff at either. If you’re a fan of characters that make you feel so soft you want to just scoop them up and put them safely away in your pocket, Shadow Frost has got you covered. I was so worried for these sweet lil cinnamon buns!! From down-to-earth, to dark and brooding, to refreshingly frank, there is no aspect of personality left unexplored in these characters and I enjoyed that immensely. The banter and the way they play to each other’s strength and weaknesses was so well blended in with the story that it felt natural, at ease, and so effortlessly compelling.

I was also very pleasantly surprised at how fast-paced and twisty this book was! I wasn’t expecting so many plot twists (which was awesome) or what they ended up being (which was even more awesome), and this happened more than once. It was pure enjoyment to constantly be wondering if the status quo will be maintained or upended once more and because it moves so quickly, it gives the story this feeling as if it’s pulling you along instead of waiting for you to read.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how absolutely astounding it is that Coco Ma wrote the first draft of this novel at age 15. While some of the characters have aspects or make choices that highlight this fact occasionally, I was blown away by the luxurious complexity, intricate world-building, and twisted plot surprises in this book. This was an absolutely impressive read, but more than that- it was pure entertainment.

If you’re looking for a rich new world in a series that is only just beginning, this book is for you. If you’re looking for whole and emotional character building or a magic system with a refreshing breath of new life inside it, this book is for you. If you’re just bored and want to try something new and a little surprising and creative, definitely for you.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. — A

Coco Ma is a Canadian-Chinese author and pianist. She wrote her first novel, Shadow Frost, at the age of 15. Since she began playing the piano at the age of five and a half, she has also performed on some of the world’s greatest concert stages and graduated with a pre-college diploma in piano performance from The Juilliard School in New York City. Currently, she studies at Yale University. When she isn’t practicing piano, writing, or studying, you might find her bingeing Netflix or eating cake. Lots of cake.

Follow Coco on Twitter @shadowfrost2019 and Instagram @CakeForCoco or visit her website at Coco-Ma.com!

Enter to win a copy of Shadow Frost by Coco Ma, a signed bookplate, and enamel pin!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 10/15/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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Book Tour, Reviews

The Tenth Girl

Simmering in Patagonian myth, The Tenth Girl is a gothic psychological thriller with a haunting twist.

At the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi—a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother—it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls.

Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house—despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored.

One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery—and then fight for her life.

Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository


I changed my mind about The Tenth Girl about six times while I read it, but overall I enjoyed this wild YA thriller.

This might be the hardest review I’ve had to write also, because so many of the things that I loved about the theme, message, and complexity of this book have to do with the big, spoiler-y twist at the end. So, instead, I’m going to give you a list of the things I loved about The Tenth Girl, and leave you to discover as much as I can.

One. The atmosphere in this book was insanely effective. The school is almost another character in the book itself, like many great horror classics, and Faring’s descriptions were graphic, detailed, and tangible. I felt like the creaking doors and moving hallways might be happening in my own house down the hall, instead of inside the book in my hands. This novel was eerie, unsettling, but most of all engaging; I had to finish once I’d been sucked into the story.

Two. I never knew what I thought was going on. Mostly in a good way. While there were definitely confusing or redundant moments for me, most of the time I felt a pleasant, ambiguous confusion that made me more curious instead of less. Every answer in the story led to more questions and I never had a solid theory for what was going on until the reveal. Which brings me to the next things I loved more than anything:

Three. The Twist was completely unexpected. And, while some may not, I loved it in particular. As soon as the reveal came so many things clicked right into place. Without saying too much, I have a little experience with the topics and contexts that she explores in this wild 180 and that made the story all the more rich, understandable, and insane. I thought this twist was just over-the-top enough and it really added another interesting layer of complexity to the story. Very interesting.

Four. I love how this book holds up a mirror and asks us to discover truths about ourselves. Now, this is the part that I’m going to struggle to describe without spoiling anyone. The Tenth Girl posed questions about humanity and our choices, about the consequences and environments of those choices and what they say about us. Faring does not shy away from questions of morality and modern social responsibility and I whole-heartedly enjoyed this turn into the philosophical.

The Tenth Girl may be a somewhat divisive novel, it may be confusing at times and a little meandering, but damn if it isn’t a great story anyway. I wholeheartedly enjoyed my read and I hope you do too.

Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City. 

Her first novel, The Tenth Girl, will be released by Macmillan/Imprint on September 24, 2019. Sara is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan Agency. 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Instagram


Enter to win a copy of The Tenth Girl by Sara Faring!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 10/2/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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author talk, Book Tour

Stormrise (Author Interview + Giveaway!!)

A combat warrior will risk everything to awaken the dragons and save her kingdom in Jillian Boehme’s epic YA Fantasy debut, Stormrise, inspired by Twelfth Night and perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce.

If Rain weren’t a girl, she would be respected as a Neshu combat master. Instead, her gender dooms her to a colorless future. When an army of nomads invades her kingdom, and a draft forces every household to send one man to fight, Rain takes her chance to seize the life she wants.

Knowing she’ll be killed if she’s discovered, Rain purchases powder made from dragon magic that enables her to disguise herself as a boy. Then she hurries to the war camps, where she excels in her training—and wrestles with the voice that has taken shape inside her head. The voice of a dragon she never truly believed existed.

As war looms and Rain is enlisted into an elite, secret unit tasked with rescuing the High King, she begins to realize this dragon tincture may hold the key to her kingdom’s victory. For the dragons that once guarded her land have slumbered for centuries . . . and someone must awaken them to fight once more.”

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository


So I’m here with Jillian Boehme, the Author of Stormrise, a new YA fantasy hitting shelves soon. Let’s start by having you tell us a little about your book. 

Stormrise is the story of Rain, a girl who disguises herself as a boy and takes her twin brother’s place in the army—knowing that, if she gets caught, she will die. Magical dragon powder helps suppress her femininity, but it also awakens Nuaga, she-king of the dragons who have been asleep for centuries and who Rain must now awaken in order to save her kingdom.

What was your inspiration for this novel?

I’m drawn to stories with female leads who ultimately find their strength without denying their femininity—like Éowyn from Lord of the Rings, who in her greatest moment declares that she is not, in fact, male. I guess you could say my biggest inspiration is the girl-dressing-as-a-boy trope (e.g. Mulan, Arya, Lee Westfall in Rae Carson’s Walk the Earth a Stranger, which I happened to be reading while I was planning Stormrise). As for the dragons? I love them and simply wanted to tell a story about them. Caveat: I wanted my dragons to be different. So I created them without wings, and with furry manes. 

Do you use music when you write?

Oh, definitely! I create a soundtrack for every novel I write; the music helps to pull me quickly into the world so I can begin working. 

What’s a writing day look like for you?

I write 6 out of 7 days a week (unless I’m on deadline and need to write on Sunday, too). I’ll generally spend some time in the morning, which is my best time for writing. I homeschool my 12-year-old, and she does all her lesson work in the morning. She’s largely independent with her studies, which gives me more time to write (and to do other things, like laundry and throwing food into the crockpot).

If my morning ends up full of other obligations, I still have my main writing time in the afternoons. When it’s time to take my daughter to ballet (4 evenings a week), I simply pack up my laptop and bring my work with me. One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that you can work pretty much anywhere!

If you could speak to a writer just starting out, what would you tell them?

Oh, I love talking with writers just starting out! Dearest, just-starting-out-writers: Write that first novel no matter what. It’s going to end up on the rubbish heap (I know you don’t want to hear that), but it’s imperative that you finish it. Get feedback on it and be ready to rip into it to continue “practicing” how to write a novel. Then, when you’ve done all you can, start your second book. Read A LOT, and continue to get feedback A LOT. Make a commitment to learn your craft, and stay open to correction and instruction along the way. Even after you’ve been writing for years, you will continue to learn and to grow as a writer, which is part of the beauty of the calling. When things get tough, don’t quit! Give yourself grace and space when you need it, but keep pressing on. It’s an up-and-down journey, and you won’t have to take it alone. In the end, you’ll be so glad you stuck with it, regardless of where your own, personal journey takes you. I wish you all the best!


JILLIAN BOEHME is known to the online writing community as Authoress, hostess of Miss Snark’s First Victim, a blog for aspiring authors. In real life, she holds a degree in Music Education, sings with the Nashville Symphony Chorus, and homeschools her remaining youngster-at-home. She’s still crazy in love with her husband of more than thirty years and is happy to be surrounded by family and friends amid the rolling knolls of Middle Tennessee.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Pre-order Stormrise between now and September 23rd and you’ll receive a signed bookmark and be entered into a drawing to win this gorgeous, Stormrise-inspired pendant by @T.ARCHJEWELRY. More into here.

Click here to pre-order your copy!

Enter to win 1 of 4 copies of Stormrise by Jilliam Boehme!

Giveaway is open to US/CAN residents and ends 9/24/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Book Tour, Reviews

Tiger Queen

“From Annie Sullivan, author of A Touch of Gold, comes Tiger Queen, a sweeping YA fantasy adventure that tells the story of a fierce desert princess battling to save her kingdom. Fans of Rebel of the Sands and Meagan Spooner will devour this retelling of Frank Stockton’s famous short story, “The Lady, or the Tiger?”

In the mythical desert kingdom of Achra, an ancient law forces sixteen-year-oldPrincess Kateri to fight in the arena to prove her right to rule. For Kateri, winning also means fulfilling a promise to her late mother that she would protect her people, who are struggling through windstorms and drought.The situation is worsened by the gang of Desert Boys that frequently raids the city wells, forcing the king to ration what little water is left. The punishment for stealing water is a choice between two doors: behind one lies freedom, and behind the other is a tiger.

But when Kateri’s final opponent is announced, she knows she cannot win. In desperation, she turns to the desert and the one person she never thought she’d side with. What Kateri discovers twists her world—and her heart—upside down. Her future is now behind two doors—only she’s not sure which holds the key to keeping her kingdom and which releases the tiger.”

I had no idea what to expect with Tiger Queen, but I had SO much fun reading this book.

Tiger Queen is a retelling of a story by Frank Stockton titled “The Lady and The Tiger,” and I was fascinated by this new twist on a story not often in the spotlight. Tiger Queen was rich, descriptive, and full of discovery and color.

One of my favorite things about this book was the strong, independent, forward-thinking main character in Princess Kateri. She experiences an entire shift of her world and yet approaches it with such an open and curious mind, longing to see what the world offers for her. She struggles with figuring out what real strength is: is it power or is it peace? So many of her internal and external struggles were so relatable and wonderfully readable. I rooted for her, cheered for her, and believed that she could become the Queen her kingdom needed.

Annie Sullivan was a new author to me before Tiger Queen, but we are well acquainted now. Her other novel, A Touch of Gold, is also on my TBR and now I want to go read it! Sullivan’s writing style was simple in the best ways and beautifully descriptive and luxurious. Her world sings with color and life and new ideas that I enjoyed encountering around every corner.

If you like Fantasy, if you loved the movie Aladdin like I did, if you like retellings and love expanding your knowledge of other cultures and stories, this book is for you. Tiger Queen was fun, dramatic, and I read it so fast that I was sad it was over when it ended. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Annie Sullivan is a Young Adult author from Indianapolis, Indiana. Her work has been featured in Curly Red Stories and Punchnels. She loves fairytales, everything Jane Austen, and traveling and exploring new cultures. When she’s not off on her own adventures, she’s teaching classes at the Indiana Writers Center and working as the Copy Specialist at John Wiley and Sons, Inc. publishing company, having also worked there in Editorial and Publicity roles. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@annsulliva).

Website | Twitter

Enter to win a Tiger Queen poster and signed bookplate!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 9/13/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Book Tour, Reviews

Crown of Coral and Pearl

Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford! I really enjoyed this twist on the mermaid/sea-inspired YA fantasy, and I was lucky enough to join the tour to tell you about it! Let’s get to it.

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford. Would it be the standard YA fantasy fare? Would it feel repetitive? But no, I enjoyed this new addition to the mermaid-inspired fantasy trend and if you enjoy this genre I think you will too.

The best thing about Crown of Coral and Pearl is that it is, at its core, a beautiful little novel in so many ways. The easy flow of the writing, the thought and detail in all the descriptions, and even in the culture of the people in this book. Beauty itself is a sort of theme in this book, one of the kingdoms in which it takes place even values beauty above all else, drawing fascinating questions about what kind of world that builds. This book was gorgeous, I felt like I could see and feel every luxurious detail, and I loved how this concept was woven into the story. Very smart.

Overall, the world-builing in general was a fascinating piece of this book. Each kingdom felt full and lived in, and the issues they faced felt real and layered in complexity. I especially found the politics and relationship between the two kingdoms to be so interesting and could have read a lot longer on these topics alone. I was swept up into this world so well and that is one of the things I appreciate most about reading.

Another thing Coral and Pearl does so well is in showcasing its tough, feminine, relatable main character, in Nor. I found all of the characters in this book interesting, but her most of all. Nor is clever, compassionate, driven, and a great female character. Most of all, I loved the incredibly close but surprisingly difficult relationship between Nor and her twin sister. Watching that relationship develop over the events of the book, in both victories and struggles, was an interesting dynamic considering how close their ties are. Even the villain of this story drew so much empathy and depth of feeling.

My only detractor is that the romance in this book didn’t quite work for me. Overall, it didn’t take away from the overall story but it just…didn’t need it? It seemed too quick and more like infatuation than anything else, so I struggled to root for this facet of the story as much as I did the others. Nor is such a strong character that it was frustrating to see her make certian choices for a romance that felt somewhat out of character. One of the central themes of this book is that beauty is more than just a physical state, its something deeper, and yet for the life of me I couldn’t see any other factor but physical attraction here haha. But hey, that’s valid too, I guess.

Overall, I enjoyed this. It could use a little polishing when it comes to the romance and maybe the ending, but it was a solid debut into the crowded field of YA fantasy novels right now. I am loving this sea-inspired trend, it’s hitting all my nostalgic Little Mermaid buttons, and this just fit right in. Crown of Coral and Pearl was well-paced, interesting all the way through, and set on a great premise. Would definitely recommend.

Keep an eye out for this one in stores on August 27th!

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, CORAL AND PEARL, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Enter to win 1 of 15 copies of Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Ruthorford!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 9/2/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

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Book Tour, Reviews

The Killing Gene

One of my favorite things as a reader, and a reviewer, is picking up a book that I’m skeptical about…and then being totally wrong. It’s the best.

That’s what happened for me with The Killing Gene, by E.M. Davey.

I was sent a request to review this by Duckworth publishing and am very excited to be participating in their #SummerReads tour for this book!

For more information on the tour, and to follow along, I’ll post a schedule at the end of this post that you can use.

And in the meantime, please enjoy my review of The Killing Gene by E.M. Davey.

When a young archaeologist goes missing in the Congo basin, Professor Randolph Harkness and troubled tearaway Ross McCartney go in search of her only to stumble upon a conspiracy to conceal ancient horrors lost to the passage of time.

Evading spies and trained killers, can they expose this cover-up in time or will they be buried with it? An unputdownable thriller The Killing Gene reveals the story of our species, the paradox of the modern mind and our innate predilection for murder…

I stumbled upon this book without knowing anything about it. And I enjoyed it a lot. The Killing Gene is a thrilling, fast-paced, well-researched piece of adventure fiction and it was a lot of fun to read.

The best thing about this book is hands-down the pace at which it carries itself. The writing is detailed, polished, and easy to read, carrying the plot with just the right amount of support. I kept reading almost compulsively. Because the chapters are short, every time I would finish one I would think to myself “It won’t take long to just read one more.” And then it was over somehow! That’s how they get you!

Moreover, this book was so well researched. I really felt that the author understood his subject matter the best that he could and that he translated that understanding to the audience well. Somewhat reminiscent of the feeling I get when reading Dan Brown’s books, The Killing Gene is rife with complex and fascinating theories that dip into history, culture, and science, among others. I feel like I learned some things while reading and I love getting that feeling from a book.

The plot was fun and unpredictable, and just “over the top” enough, in my opinion. I think that it uses the formula well, applying traditional choices when it made sense but then turning things on their heads at the next turn. This kind of writing kept the book interesting. I struggled with the Old Testament references, finding them a little heavy-handed, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the heart-stopping twists and turns on this adventure.

Finally, I enjoyed the characters in this book. Sometimes, with books like these in Historical Adventure, there is a tendency to place all knowledge, competency, and merit on the MC and not on the surrounding characters, or even cultures, that the book also talks about. I didn’t find this problem so much with The Killing Gene and it was a genuine breath of fresh air. Davey’s characters felt likable and relatable. I especially enjoyed McCartney and the complexity of writing a character with a life-changing diagnosis. He continually walked that line of endearing and reckless and I found that to be every entertaining, aware storytelling.

This book was so out of my normal reading comfort zone. I love adventure and thrillers and I used to read books like this ALL the time, but started getting away from the formula as I got older. This was one reason that I accepted the opportunity to review this book, I was excited to dive back into a known/unknown area of reading for a while! And guys, I wasn’t disappointed in the least. If you love the sound of adventure and running through the jungle and danger around every turn, this might be the book for you.


E.M. DAVEY is a journalist at Global Witness specializing in undercover investigative journalism into international corruption and environmental crime, which gives him the opportunity to travel to far-flung and unusual places. His novels incorporate real-world experiences and meticulous research, blurring the lines between reality and fiction. He has taught creative writing with the Wilbur & Niso Smith foundation and is the author of three novels: Foretold by Thunder (Duckworth 2015), The Napoleon Complex (Duckworth 2016) and The Killing Gene (Duckworth 2019). He grew up in Bristol and now lives in Kent. 

Website | Twitter

What do you think? Sound interesting? Leave a comment letting me know what you think!

Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow! x — A

author talk, Book Tour

[BLINK Summer Reading Tour] Interview with the Author: Christina June ( + GIVEAWAY!)

I’ve got something special for you guys today!

I’m participating in the BLINK Summer Reading Tour right now and I get the pleasure of introducing you to No Place Like Here!

This sweet YA Contemporary is a classic coming-of-age tale with lots of heartfelt moments along the way. I hope you enjoy.

Today, I’m going to be sharing with you a conversation I had with the author of this book, Christina June! From her book to her process to her advice to young writers, we covered it all.

You can also enter to win a bundle of all five books on the BLINK Summer Reading tour! Look for the Giveaway below!

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home. 

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1.     What was your inspiration for this novel? 

Ashlyn started as a character who appears in IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE.  Readers who know her already will be familiar with her poor choices in boys and her unusually strict father.  When my editor and I were brainstorming ideas for my next proposal, I knew I wanted to let Ashlyn tell her own story that would explore how much more than that she is.  The fairy tale framework, Hansel & Gretl, is essentially an abandonment story between children and their father, which fit Ashlyn perfectly. Since my companions are all set in the summer, my mind went to a wilderness retreat center–summer camp for adults—as the right setting, and voila, her fish-out-of-water story began to take shape.  Her experience was inspired by my chats with students who feel powerless in their own families, for various reasons.  I wanted to show them that they words and thoughts have value and they can change their situation if they want to.

2.     Do you use music when you write? 

Always.  I make playlists on Spotify, usually from whatever strikes me off the radio, and those songs tend to become the voice of my characters.  Ashlyn’s theme song is The Gold by Manchester Orchestra.  The lyrics of the chorus really speak to her feelings about her father.

3.     What’s a writing day look like for you? 

They’re never the same!  I have a full time job and a family, so I take whatever time I can get.  The hour before I start work and the hour after before I have to pick up my daughter are pretty reliable, though.  I also take advantage of summer time, when I’m not in school, and November for NaNoWriMo.

4.     What’s your favorite part about writing? Least? 

Favorite is drafting, least favorite is editing.  I think a LOT about what I want to write before I actually start, so my first drafts are pretty clean.  I like things to be done and put away, so going back and making changes is always a challenge.

5.     If you could speak to a writer just starting out, what would you tell them?

Don’t give up.  Keep at it and know you learn something new from every project.  Writing “the end” is so powerful, so strive for that.  Publishing is about patience, so while you’re waiting, write the next thing and do other activities to refill the creative well when you’re feeling stuck.

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

She is the author of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, and the forthcoming NO PLACE LIKE HERE.

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Enter to win 1 of 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing)!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 8/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

July 22

That Artsy Reader Girl – Summer Reading Tour Kick-Off

July 23

Pages & Pugs – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesMangeuse de Livres – Q&A with Annie Sullivan (French & English)
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesMusings of a (Book) Girl – Christina June Guest PostOhana Cascadia – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesA Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Kayla Reads and Reviews – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Meet the Sky

July 24

J.R.’s Book Reviews – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of No Place Like HereShelf-Rated – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite Quotes
Reading Authors Network – Book Review of Swing
Read At Night – Interview with Christina JuneYA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of Swing
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite QuotesInky Moments – Creative Post

July 25

Marshmallow Pudding – Christina June Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Creative Post for No Place Like Here
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesFictitiousWonderland – Bookstagram Post for A Touch of Gold
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Will Read Anything – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Kait Plus Books – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Bookstagram Post

July 26

Adventures Thru Wonderland – McCall Hoyle Guest Post
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
What She Will Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
Starlight Reads – Book Playlist for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Book Review of A Touch of GoldWill Read Anything – Book Review of Swing
Inky Moments – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes

July 29

Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie SullivanOnemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like HereCinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)

July 30

What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Meet the Sky Book Spotlight
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post

July 31

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like HereBook-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest PostMusings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest PostRead At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney

August 1

Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky

August 2

Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative PostSmada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like HereFaery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing

Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow. x — A

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Book Tour, Reviews

Sabrina: Season of the Witch ( + GIVEAWAY)

“I spent so long thinking the future was forever away. I’m not ready for it to be now.”

It’s the summer before her sixteenth birthday, and Sabrina Spellman knows her world is about to change. She’s always studied magic and spells with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda. But she’s also lived a normal mortal life – attending Baxter High, hanging out with her friends Susie and Roz, and going to the movies with her boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle.

Now time is running out on her every day, normal world, and leaving behind Roz and Susie and Harvey is a lot harder than she thought it would be. Especially because Sabrina isn’t sure how Harvey feels about her. Her cousin Ambrose suggests performing a spell to discover Harvey’s true feelings. But when a mysterious wood spirit interferes, the spell backfires in a big way.

Sabrina has always been attracted to the power of being a witch. But now she can’t help wondering if that power is leading her down the wrong path. Will she choose to forsake the path of light and follow the path of night?

Our exclusive prequel novel will reveal a side of Sabrina not seen on the new NETFLIX show. What choice will Sabrina make…and will it be the right one?

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I had a lot of fun reading this, I can’t even lie. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I never am when it comes to screen adaptations to text or spin-offs of any kind. But this was fun! I give it a solid 4 stars and I also had a fun afternoon diving into it. I love this new age of Sabrina as she struggles with coming of age, both in our world and in hers. The teen angst, the dark themes, the camp, its all wonderful and its all here too, in Sabrina: Season of the Witch.

While not adding a huge amount of new information or story progression (it is a prequel) from the television series, it does give us one experience that I thought was worth every page: a direct line into the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters that we love. I really enjoyed hearing Sabrina’s thoughts and struggles firsthand and I particularly loved hearing chapters from Ambrose, Zelda, and Hilda as well. This was a fun twist on bits of story we already know and I learned some new things about these characters in the meantime.

This was a fun, quick read that felt all the more fun and tangible for the fact that I could visualize every scene. Having seen the tv show helps with that, but the writing is also descriptive and visual and very true to the spirit of this new world. Season of the Witch is many things all at once: a light, witchy mystery; a teenage romance; a coming of age story; and a prelude of many bigger things to come.

If you’re a fan of the show then you will definitely enjoy this book. If you’re not a fan of the show, this might be a light primer for deciding if you want to dive into the deeper end on NETFLIX. Or maybe it’s just a good, little prequel you can enjoy no matter what you think about the show. Regardless, I enjoyed it a lot and I hope you do too.

SARAH REES BRENNAN is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been long-listed for the Carnegie Medal and short-listed for both a Nebula Award and a Hugo Award, as well as received multiple starred reviews. Her most recent novels include In Other Lands, Tell the Wind and Fire and the Lynburn Legacy trilogy. 

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Enter to win 1 of 5 copies of Sabrina: Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 8/1/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

July 24th

July 25th

  • One More Chapter– Review
  • Booked J- Review
  • Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review & Favorite Quotes


July 26th

  • Lost in Storyland- Interview
  • Starlight Reads- Bookstagram
  • BookCrushin- Creative Post

July 27th

  • The Book Nut– Playlist
  • onemused- Bookstagram
  • Morgan Vega- Review

July 28th

July 29th

July 30th

  • Story-eyed Reviews– Review & Favorite Quotes
  • Musings of a (Book) Girl- Review/Creative Post
  • Twilight Reader- PlaylistA Book Addict’s Bookshelves- Playlist

Do you watch Sabrina?? Leave a comment letting me know!

Thanks for stopping by, and see you tomorrow! x – A

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Book Tour, Reviews

Meet the Sky

“It’s amazing how the storm of the century shook up our lives. […] My physical world suffered damage, but nothing that power tools and hard work won’t eventually fix. My emotional world, on the other hand, evolved into something completely new and different.”

It all started with the accident. The one that caused Sophie’s dad to walk out of her life. The one that left Sophie’s older sister, Meredith, barely able to walk at all.

With nothing but pain in her past, all Sophie wants is to plan for the future—keep the family business running, get accepted to veterinary school, and protect her mom and sister from another disaster. But when a hurricane forms off the coast of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and heads right toward their island, Sophie realizes nature is one thing she can’t control.

After she gets separated from her family during the evacuation, Sophie finds herself trapped on the island with the last person she’d have chosen—the reckless and wild Finn Sanders, who broke her heart freshman year. As they struggle to find safety, Sophie learns that Finn has suffered his own heartbreak; but instead of playing it safe, Finn’s become the kind of guy who goes surfing in the eye of the hurricane. He may be the perfect person to remind Sophie how to embrace life again, but only if their newfound friendship can survive the storm.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

I read Meet the Sky in one rainy afternoon and, thinking about it now, it was a good day. Part of that was because of this sweet, turbulent, and romantic little YA novel.

Meet the Sky was a quick and fun read, despite what I thought would be heavy subject matter. Both Sophie and Finn have obstacles in their families and lives at the time this book takes place, not to mention the giant obstacle that they both have to deal with: the hurricane.

Finn and Sophie, being teenagers, didn’t always make the same choices I would have in the midst of this disaster, but that didn’t matter to me. The characters in this book make every choice because they believe its the right one to do. Each of them is stubborn and obstinate and has wildly different views from the other, and yet they find the most vulnerable parts of themselves out in the storm. Like any good “enemies to lovers” plot, I enjoyed their discovery of each other and new ideas the most.

It was also very interesting for me to get a little taste of coastal and/or island life. Not only the storm, but the way their towns are built and maintained, the way their citizens respond to threats like this, the way of life out by the ocean. I’m a midwesterner, stuck out here in the middle of the country without an ocean, so I find things like this fascinating haha.

This story was simple but balanced so well with depth, feeling, and excitement. For all that its about the storm of a century, Meet the Sky is surprisingly light for the soul. I gave this one a solid 4 stars and if you’re a fan of teenage love in the face of death-defying obstacles then this might be just the book for you.

McCall Hoyle writes honest YA novels about friendship, first love, and girls finding the strength to overcome great challenges. She is a high school English teacher. Her own less-than-perfect teenage experiences and those of the girls she teaches inspire many of the struggles in her books. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with her family and their odd assortment of pets—a food-obsessed beagle, a grumpy rescue cat, and a three-and-a-half-legged kitten. She has an English degree from Columbia College and a master’s degree from Georgia State University. She lives in a cottage in the woods in North Georgia where she reads and writes every day.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Enter to win 1 of 5 BLINK Summer Reading Tour Book Bundles (A Touch of Gold, Meet the Sky, No Place Like Here, Pretty In Punxsutawney, and Swing)!

Giveaway is open to US residents and ends 8/9/2019.

Enter through this Rafflecopter form and may the odds be ever in your favor!

July 22

That Artsy Reader Girl – Summer Reading Tour Kick-Off

July 23

Pages & Pugs – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesMangeuse de Livres – Q&A with Annie Sullivan (French & English)
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesMusings of a (Book) Girl – Christina June Guest PostOhana Cascadia – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite QuotesA Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Kayla Reads and Reviews – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Meet the Sky

July 24

J.R.’s Book Reviews – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Book-Keeping – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Musings of a (Book) Girl – Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of No Place Like HereShelf-Rated – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite Quotes
Reading Authors Network – Book Review of Swing
Read At Night – Interview with Christina JuneYA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of Swing
Cinnamon Summers – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite QuotesInky Moments – Creative Post

July 25

Marshmallow Pudding – Christina June Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Creative Post for No Place Like Here
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of Swing + Favorite QuotesNay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Favorite QuotesFictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for A Touch of Gold (Instagram)
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Will Read Anything – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Kait Plus Books – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
The Reading Corner for All – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Instagram Post

July 26

Adventures Thru Wonderland – McCall Hoyle Guest Post
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
What She Will Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes
Starlight Reads – Book Playlist for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
Library of a Book Witch – Book Review of A Touch of GoldWill Read Anything – Book Review of Swing
Inky Moments – Book Review of No Place Like Here + Favorite Quotes

July 29

Beauty In the Binding – Author Q&A with Annie SullivanOnemused – Book Review of Meet the Sky (Instagram Photo)A Bronx Latina Reads – Book Review of No Place Like HereCinnamon Summers – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Favorite Quotes
A Dream Within a Dream – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
Savings In Seconds – Book Review of Swing + Favorite Quotes
FictitiousWonderland – Book Review + Creative Post for Pretty In Punxsutawney (Instagram)

July 30

What She Will Read – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest Post
Never Too Many to Read – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Starlight Reads – Book Review of Swing
YA/NA Book Divas – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
YA Media Consumer – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Some Books and Ramblings – Interview with McCall Hoyle
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite QuotesThe Reading Corner for All – Book Review of Meet the Sky + Instagram Post

July 31

Feed Your Fiction Addiction – McCall Hoyle Guest PostTaylor Fenner’s Bookish World – Book Review of No Place Like HereBook-Keeping – Book Review of Touch of Gold
Utopia State of Mind – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Kait Plus Books – Annie Sullivan Guest PostMusings of a (Book) Girl – Book Review of Swing
Kait Plus Books – Laurie Boyle Crompton Guest PostRead At Night – No Place Like Here Creative Post
Ohana Cascadia – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Favorite Quotes
Lifestyle of Me – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney

August 1

Reading Authors Network – Creative Post for Swing
Story-eyed Reviews – Interview with Christina June
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
The Secret Reader – Book Review of A Touch of Gold + Creative Post
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Swing
A Dream Within A Dream – Annie Sullivan Guest Post
Smada’s Book Smack – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney
A Bookish Dream – Book Review of No Place Like Here
Adventures Thru Wonderland – Book Review of Meet the Sky

August 2

Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review of Meet the Sky
Belle’s Archive – Book Review of Pretty In PunxsutawneyThe Secret Reader – Book Review of Pretty In Punxsutawney + Interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton + Creative PostSmada’s Book Smack – Book Review of No Place Like HereFaery Tales Are Real – Book Review of A Touch of Gold
Read At Night – Book Review of Swing + Creative Post
Two Points of Interest – Book Review of Swing

Thanks for stopping by! See you soon. — A

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