ARC Review: After Always By: Barbara J. Hancock

ARC Review: After Always By: Barbara J. Hancock

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Title: After Always
Author: Barbara J. Hancock
Release Date: October 1st, 2018
Available: Kobo/B&N
Add to Goodreads

*I received an ARC copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever*


ag- about the book

Lydia Li’s life ended when Tristan died. At least, that’s how it felt. Sure, they had problems and he could be a little…intense…at times, but he’d loved her. He was the Romeo to her Juliet… And now he was gone.

When her parents get her to agree to a summer across the country with a music teacher who runs an inn, Lydia agrees. But it’s different than what she expected. There’s something else there. Something that feels a lot like Tristan. But that’s impossible, right?

Then there’s Michael Malone, the quiet guy who’s Tristan’s opposite in every way. And Lydia can’t help but be drawn to him…and whatever the house is hiding.


ag- my review

With YA Thrillers, they seem to be a hit or miss for me, especially if romance is tied into it as well. This book holds a strong in every department I look for in a thriller. Despite a couple weak spots here and there, it’s a great tale of romance, healing, growth, and contains a compelling mystery.

Lydia is mourning the loss of her boyfriend Tristan. We listen to her tale of what her and her past relationship was through what we initially perceived as a perfect romance, but in reality, it was abusive and full of darkness. What is initially painted by Lydia to what seemed an overly obsessive relationship on her part, turns out she was a victim in the end. Lydia is used to a relationship filled with fear from Tristan’s physical abuse and manipulative ways while remaining devoted all because of her personal views on love.

Her parents finally believe Lydia needs a change of scenery and allow her to go away for the summer to stay in a mansion. Upon arriving, she meets Michael who is basically the healthy, compassionate opposite of what Lydia is used too. Their relationship begins as co-workers to friends and leads to more, however, Lydia is not used to a healthy relationship. Her self-growth and healing in this story is wonderful. Michael is a love, I could not get enough of him.

The paranormal aspects of this novel were an added bonus to this story. On the sole plot foundation, it read as a Contemporary novel then next thing you know you’re faced with a supernatural mystery tied into it. All in all, all elements come together in the end to keep you on your toes.

I could not get enough of this book and it was beautiful to see a broken character like Lydia find the power within herself to grow and pursue forward in a healthy manner with someone else who truly feeds her soul with love and kindness.

Rating 8

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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ARC Review: Changeling By Molly Harper

ARC Review: Changeling By Molly Harper

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Title: Changeling
Author: Molly Harper
Series: Sorcery and Society #1
Release Date: August 22nd, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/
Add to Goodreads

*I received an ARC copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever*

ag- about the book

If 14-year-old Cassandra Reed makes it through her first day at Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies without anyone discovering her secret, maybe, just maybe, she’ll let herself believe that she really does belong at Miss Castwell’s.

Except Cassandra Reed’s real name is Sarah Smith and up until now, she lived her whole life in the Warren, serving a magical family, the Winters, as all non-magical “Snipes” are bound by magical Guardian law to do. That is, until one day, Sarah accidentally levitates Mrs. Winter’s favorite vase in the parlor…

But Snipes aren’t supposed to have magical powers…and the existence of a magical Snipe threatens the world order dictated during the Guardians’ Restoration years ago. If she wants to keep her family safe and protect her own skin, Sarah must figure out how to fit into posh Guardian society, master her newfound magical powers and discover the truth about how an ordinary girl can become magical.

ag- my review

Molly Harper. I began my love for this author a few years ago when I binge read her Nice Girls series. I’m originally from Kentucky and when I was in college at the time going through the vampire book craze I heard about books about a librarian turned vampire set in the Kentucky with a handsome sire – sign…me…up! I still periodically re-read them and their spin-off series, Half Moon Hollow. I knew the moment I came across her new YA book set in a steampunk Victorian England setting involving magic, I HAD to check it out.

Sarah Smith is a young teen living with her family who are servants to a magically gifted family. In her world, non-magical citizens, “Snipes”, live to serve the magical guardians that are appointed to them via the Ministry of magic aka “Guardian of Law”.

To them, it is considered dangerous for the world to be operated by snipes and guardians are more fit to rule due to their magical abilities. Thus, snipes live for one purpose only – to serve their protectors. Imagine Harry Potter only if the magical community took over.

Sarah isn’t the healthiest in her family and thus was initially considered a liability to their work. Over time, Sarah began to cease taking them and out of the blue her powers resurfaced, by accident, in front of her guardians. The Winters, her guardians, come up with an idea to change her name to “Cassandra Reed” and send her off to the “Miss Castwell’s Institute for the Magical Instruction of Young Ladies” boarding school for her to learn more about her abilities and manners.

This book is like a combination of several stories, including Harry Potter. I’m not knocking it for it, but it seemed quite similar. The main differences are the students have familiars in the form of shapeshifting servants, the houses within the school only contain descendants from the original families, and there was a possible romance thrown in. And, of course, the characters have the witty conversations and lovable personalities only Molly Harper can write.

I can’t wait to see where this world leads to and watch Cassandra’s journey continue…

 

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Blog Tour, Excerpt, Tour-Wide Giveaway: Shades of Wicked By Jeaniene Frost

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Tour-Wide Giveaway: Shades of Wicked By Jeaniene Frost

Title: Shades of Wicked
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Series: Night Rebel (BK. 1 – Part of the Night Huntress World)
Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Available: Amazon/Avon Romance/B&N/Google Play/iBooks
Add to Goodreads


md- about the book

In this thrilling new Night Rebel series set in New York Times bestselling author Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress world, sexy and ruthless vampire Ian finally meets his match!

The Rule Breaker…
Master vampire Ian is unrepentant, shameless…and every shade of wicked. He’s made one too many enemies in his two centuries of existence, including Dagon, a demon who now lays claim to his soul. Ian’s only chance to escape Dagon is to join forces with a Law Guardian, but he’s never been able to abide by the rules for long.

The Law Maker…
Veritas’ normal role is police, judge, and jury to reprobates like Ian. But she has her own ax to grind with Dagon, so if she can use Ian as bait…well, all’s fair in law and war. As they scour supernatural hotspots to perfect their trap, Veritas soon realizes Ian’s carefully cultivated, devil-may-care roguish image hides something much more powerful. And Ian discovers Veritas has shocking secrets of her own. As they’re drawn to each other with a passion as intense as their peril, either love or justice will prevail. But each will have devastating consequences.


md- giveaway

To celebrate the release of SHADES OF WICKED by Jeaniene Frost, Pure Texuality is giving away a paperback copy of Once Burned, the first book in the Night Prince series, to one lucky winner!

Enter Giveaway Here!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Once Burned, the first book in the Night Prince series, by Jeaniene Frost. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Connie Suttle. Giveaway ends 11/9/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.


md- about the author

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JEANIENE FROST is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress and Night Prince series, as well as the Night Huntress World novels. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to twenty different countries. Jeaniene lives in Florida with her husband, Matthew, rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling — by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon


Excerpt

This had better be the right whorehouse.
It didn’t look like the seedier brothels I’d recently been to. This three-story structure could pass as the meeting place for an elite social club. Despite its unexpected prettiness, if I had to wade through another flesh-fest only to turn up empty-handed again, I wouldn’t be responsible for what I did to my quarry when I finally found him.
To vent my aggravation over weeks of fruitless searching, I kicked the door open. Politeness had been wasted at the last several establishments anyway. No smart proprietor willingly gave up a well-paying client, and I’ll say one thing for the bordello-loving vampire I was after: He obviously paid well.
To my surprise, I didn’t see anyone in the elegant foyer. Brothels usually had several prostitutes lingering around the entryway to welcome new customers. I was further surprised when I didn’t hear sounds of carnal activity coming from the upper floors of the house. I pulled out my mobile and checked the GPS pin. Yes, this was the right place. What’s more, it certainly smelled like sex, once you got past the choking scents of various perfumes and colognes.
But where was everyone?
Faint vibrations in the floor made me stride toward the hallway. Ah, so the party must be downstairs. I followed the strongest scents of perfume until I found a staircase that descended two floors. It ended at a locked door that I also kicked in. No point in being dainty now.
Noise blasted out. The basement must have been soundproofed for me to miss it before. Now, I wished I couldn’t hear what was going on. A boisterous chorus assaulted my ears, repeating over and over. Thunder and Blazes, the favorite opening song of the former Barnum and Bailey circus.
And I had walked into a circus, I saw now, although one without any real animals. About a dozen naked women and men frolicked on the ground, doing woefully inadequate impressions of the creatures their full body paint represented. No work ethic, I thought when three faux lions appeared more interested in petting each other than in more realistic fights for dominance, and don’t get me started on how they ignored the two faux gazelles that walked by them.
The dozen or so prostitutes dressed in clown suits showed more dedication for their roles. They emerged from a fake car in the far corner of the room, some falling forward in rolling somersaults once they exited, some tripping each other with comedic exaggeration, and some blowing up balloons into explicit body parts that they then graphically connected.
An eruption of fireworks yanked my attention to the other side of the room. They were going off around what looked like a throne, haloing its occupant in a blaze of sparks, fire and smoke. The mini pyrotechnic display was so bright, I couldn’t make out the enthroned person’s face, but when he called out, “Act Eight will now begin!” I heard a distinct English accent.
Then the smoke cleared enough to show a tall man wearing a blue circus-ringleader jacket. The smoke still concealed him from the waist down, but I didn’t need to see more to know I’d finally found my target. The vampire who’d blazed a trail through a dozen whorehouses in only two weeks had a face as beautiful as an angel’s, not to mention that his fire-and-umber hair was as distinctive as his looks. When he got off the throne, revealing he wore nothing beneath the ringleader jacket, I realized those weren’t Ian’s only notable attributes.
For a moment, I stared. What vampire in his right mind would pierce himself with silver there?
I was the only one shocked by the silver piercing through the tip of Ian’s cock. Everyone else stopped what they were doing and rushed toward him. Even the glitter-covered acrobats leapt from their swinging perches near the ceiling, gracefully landing near the pile of limbs that now formed around the red-headed vampire.
It wasn’t enough that I had to be burdened with a vampire so mentally deficient that he’d willingly given himself a case of perpetual cock burn. He also had to be depraved enough to indulge in carnival-themed orgies. I wasn’t about to find out what the rest of Act Eight entailed. I made my way to the growing flesh pile and began flinging people aside, taking care not to throw them too hard. Their heartbeats meant they were human, so they couldn’t heal the way my kind could.
“What’s this?” Ian asked in an annoyed manner when I reached the bottom of the bodies. Then he let out an appreciative noise when I yanked him up with none of the care I’d shown the other people.
“Why, hallo, my strong blonde sweeting.” Now he didn’t sound annoyed at all. “Are you the surprise I was promised?”
Why not let him believe that? “Sure,” I said. “Surprise.” And I grabbed him by the cock. I had one more thing to verify before I went any further.
Ian chuckled. “That’s the spirit, poppet.”
I dropped to my knees. I wasn’t about to do what he thought. Still, this act allowed me to zero in on my goal with the least amount of resistance from him. Once I got a good look at the smoke-colored brands near the base of Ian’s groin, I released him. Only one demon branded people with these particular markings, and it was the same demon I’d been after for thousands of years.
“Ian,” I said as I straightened. “Say good-bye. We’re leaving.”
He laughed outright. “I don’t think so. You might be lovely, but two’s lonely, while a dozen is a party.”
I gave a disparaging look around. “No great loss. The clowns were fine, but none of your faux animals fought each other or even attempted to jump through the fire rings.”
At that, he gave the animal-painted prostitutes an accusing look. “You didn’t, did you?” Then, his eyes suddenly narrowed as he looked back at me. “Wait a moment. I know you.”
We’d only officially met once before, so I hadn’t thought he’d remember me. Someone with his tendencies had to have crossed paths with vast numbers of blonde women.
“Veritas, Law Guardian for the vampire council,” I confirmed. Then my hands landed on his shoulders. “And as I said, you are coming with me.”


md- my review

Let me take a moment to release my excitement for the lonnnnng awaited release of this book:

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I previously wrote a review on the Night Huntress series not to long ago. Check it out here!

Ok, when Jeaniene decided to continue the Night Huntress, but jump straight to Vlad instead of Ian – I was a little frustrated. I lied, I was VERY frustrated. I mean, we have Spade and Menchares having their women in their lives. Yes, Ian is prude, rude, and has caused the majority problems Kat went through for two books, but hey, he was redeemed! Well, sort of….don’t fight me on this, you…will…lose!

We were introduced to Veritas, a Law Guardian of the Vampires, back in Destined for an Early Grave and she returned for the original Night Huntress finale in Up from the Grave. I’m a little confused by her description in the new series. I could be wrong, but I remember her being described as tiny and small due to being turned at a young age. In this first book, she’s actually more physically developed and completely the opposite of how she used to be. Um, need answers on this!

Anyways, she tracks down Ian in order to join forces to trap Dagon, a demon who has a contract on Ian’s soul. We meet up with cameos of familiar characters *inserts fangirl scream*. I will not say who but the moment they showed up, I needed to take a second and let myself bask in their fictional presence. I adore this world too much, I’m telling you.

We go into Veritas’ origins threw me in for a loop. I did not expect for her story to go in that direction. We also see a whole other side to Ian besides his humor and promiscuous ways. Underneath, both of these characters have more than meets the eye and their growth with one another is as organic and raw as it was for Kat and Bones. I will not compare the two couples because they are not comparable. Each pairing is unique and I have always admired Frost’s way to make them that way. She does not have cookie-cutter characters. They all have their own voice and you learn to love each of them in their own way.

I will say, though, that ending….Jeaniene, I read your Night Huntress outtakes book, and I’m onto you!

Rating 9


If you haven’t read this series – why not? Pick it up and catch up!

I cannot wait for the sequel and already have a feeling this series will earn it’s stars in the best way along with the others.

Have you read this series?

Let me know in the comments below!


Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Blog Tour & ARC Book Review: Carols and Chaos By Cindy Anstey

Blog Tour & ARC Book Review: Carols and Chaos By Cindy Anstey

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Title: Carols and Chaos
Author: Cindy Anstey
Release Date: October 9th, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/Google Play
Add to Goodreads

hs- about the book

A lady’s maid and a valet become entangled in a yuletide counterfeiting scheme in this romantic Christmas YA adventure.

1817. The happy chaos of the Yuletide season has descended upon the country estate of Shackleford Park in full force, but lady’s maid Kate Darby barely has the time to notice. Between her household duties, caring for her ailing mother, and saving up money to someday own a dress shop, her hands are quite full. Matt Harlow is also rather busy. He’s performing double-duty, acting as valet for both of the Steeple brothers, two of the estate’s holiday guests.

Falling in love would be a disaster for either of them. But staving off their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when a devious counterfeiting scheme reaches the gates of Shackleford Park, and Kate and Matt are unwittingly swept up in the intrigue.

 

hs- about the author

Cindy

Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.

She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

Cindy loves history, mystery and…a chocolate Labrador called Chester. 

 

hs- my review

Halloween is over and now the holidays are upon us! I read Cindy’s novel Suitors and Sabotage earlier this year and at the time, I heard that she was coming out with a spin-off for it. The moment I found out I was approved for this book, I was excited to dive in and see what she had to offer.

We focus on one of the ladies maid’s Kate and Matt, Ben Steeple’s valet, from the previous novel. There were hints of their attraction from the novel and they are further explored in this one. Due to the holiday hustle and bustle in Shackleford Park, the Steeple and Chively families come together to feed the flame between these two.

Now, I enjoyed Suitors and Sabotage, but it needed to be fleshed out more. There was more talk than show pertaining to scene development and even pertaining to Kate and Matt’s relationship. I mean, there weren’t that many scenes where they were paired together for us to fully understand or watch their relationship grow to what we could have perceived.

I was great to be back into this world and the atmosphere of the 1800s. However, the lack of action made the experience lacking. The mystery aspect didn’t even show up till halfway through the book. It was a good read, yes, but when you tell more than show – it robs you of the experience.

If you need a quick, holiday-themed mystery, try this out. But do not expect everything you wish for wrapped up with a pretty bow on top.

Rating 6

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Book Tour, ARC Review, & Giveaway: To Catch a Rogue By Bec McMaster

Book Tour, ARC Review, & Giveaway: To Catch a Rogue By Bec McMaster

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Title: To Catch a Rogue
Author: Bec McMaster
Series: London Steampunk: The Blue Blood Conspiracy #4
Release Date: October 30th, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/iBooks
Add to Goodreads

md- about the book

The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.

It’s a job for a master thief, and there’s nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who’s ever been able to outfox him.

He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life…

Lark’s spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can’t ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.

It’s Charlie’s last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark’s keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all…

md- about the author

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BEC MCMASTER grew up on a steady diet of 80’s fantasy movies like Ladyhawke, Labyrinth and The Princess Bride, and loves creating epic, fantasy-based worlds with heroes and heroines who must defeat all the odds to have their HEA. If you like sexy, dark, paranormal romance, try her Dark Arts series; for some kick-bustle ladies-saving-the-day steampunk romance then check out London Steampunk; and for rocket-fuelled post-apocalyptic romance with a twist on the werewolf theme, then see her Burned Lands series.

Bec has been nominated for RT Reviews Best Steampunk Romance for Heart of Iron (2013), won RT Reviews Best Steampunk Romance with Of Silk And Steam (2015), and Forged By Desire was nominated for an RWA RITA award in 2015. The series has received starred reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal, with Heart of Iron named one of their Best Romances of 2013.

Join Bec’s newsletter for all the latest news on releases, exclusive excerpts and cover reveals, and get your copy of ‘Tarnished Knight’, a novella in her award-winning London Steampunk series. Copy and paste this link into your browser: http://eepurl.com/F_LkD

Contact

Website/Twitter/Goodreads

md- my review

I came in late to The Steampunk Conspiracy game. Don’t judge me, but I did. The plus side, though, the author fills you in on all of the action you missed in the previous novels through a quick synopsis at the beginning of the book and throughout the novel. This, obviously, a huge relief for me trying to catch up on it and the original series: The London Steampunk.

Here is an excerpt to fill you in on who the rogues are:

“The Duke of Malloryn puts together a highly-skilled team of individuals (human, mechs, and rogue blue bloods) to combat a mysterious threat against the queen, and the Company of Rogues is born.”

Each of these books are set in a world where vampires are considered “blue bloods” and there are different courts where they dwell. The Crimson Court is a common threat to the blue bloods who fight for justice and peace. In this book, The Duke of Malloryn, is kidnapped and held captive within the dark Crimson Court. The Rogues are notified and decide to send one of their best to rescue the Duke and also recruit an old flame of his to tackle the task.

Charlie and Lark have a complicated past. Charlie broke her heart by choosing another woman over her and disappearing. Lark, in turn, went on her own path, acquiring a long list of secrets in her wake. Oh my gosh the secrets!

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The plot is solid, adored the characters and the chemistry surrounding them. I felt for Lark, I truly did. I can understand her coldness toward Charlie and being resistant to him even though her hidden feelings fought against her. The events unfolded organically, no stone unturned. Usually characters were as many secrets as Lark would tend to get taxing, but this was completely the opposite.

Everything came around full circle and I’m definitely going to be looking into the previous books! Love steampunk and vampires with a dash of sexy rogues? Take this series and go!

Rating 9

md- giveaway

Want to win a $10 Amazon gift card?

Enter Giveaway Here!

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Book VS. Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby By Ira Levin

Book VS. Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby By Ira Levin

Tis’ the Season, Charmers!

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I haven’t been around much except for blog tours, but behind-the-scenes I’ve been delving into some wicked Halloween reads. Witches, Vampires, Horror Anthologies, Man-made creatures brought back from death’s grasp, and more. Halloween is basically my Christmas and for the next few days, I’ll be delivering my offerings of frightful reads, podcasts, and other spooky themed goodness.

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Rosemary’s Baby is a notorious famous horror film directed by Roman Polanski back in the 60s. For years, this tale has inspired generations of horror filmmakers and writers all across the globe. People seem to forget this apocalyptic masterpiece actually derived from a novel, however. A novel created from the unique mind of author Ira Levin and, in my opinion, ahead of it’s time.

Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse appear to be the perfect couple. Rosemary, a stay at home wife dead set on starting a family, while her husband Guy, struggling actor, are searching for their perfect apartment home in New York. They choose to move into the Bramford, a prestigious building with a slight, um, dark reputation for attracting not-so-pleasant guests who meet violent ends. Despite warnings about it’s past from Rosemary’s father figure Hutch (adore this man), Guy and Rosemary move in anyway. Soon, strange things begin to occur that will shake not only Rosemary’s personal life, but the future of the world itself.

Rosemary befriends a woman named Terry at the beginning of the novel right when her and her husband move into the Bramford. Terry tells Rosemary of her past dealings with alcohol and drug addiction. Eventually, she ended up on the streets until the Castevets, an elderly couple who live at the Bramford as well, “rescued” her.

We don’t get to spend much with Terry in the novel even though I would have loved to have more scenes written with her in them. Why? Well, Terry’s life is cut short because of her apparent suicide outside the Bramford. Enter in the Castevets, who never suspected why she would have done such a thing, but due to Terry’s death – this ushers them into entering the Woodhouse’s lives. When I say enter, I mean basically take over.

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Dinners with the couple, digging them into their current lives, wondering how many children they may have, religious backgrounds, their stances with their families, suddenly “appearing” with desert at their door on baby making night, etc.. Ok, I don’t care, but there were red flags about this couple from the get-go that any intelligent person would have picked up on. The couple is obviously up to no good and they turn the Woodhouse’s lives turn upside down.

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I’m not going to spoil anymore than I already have. If you’ve seen the movie, I have to give props to Polanski for sticking close to the book (even though he is a creep, look him up). He stuck extremely close to the book while adding onto the incredible foreshadowing author Ira Levin wrote in the novel. You have to read the novel at least twice or even more to pick up on all of the pieces. Polanski also became insanely creative with the metaphors in the book by making them even more relatable, both politically and religiously to the times, in the transfer to film. These aspects enhanced the true darkness of it all and that is what truly makes the film a classic. For the book lover side, he practically used the dialogue word-for-word straight from the book-it’s incredible! When it comes to transferring content from book to screen and directing the actors that you can’t see anyone else play those characters, this film and book are a perfect representation of how it should be handled.

This book was written during a time of female oppression during the 60s. The overall transformation of Rosemary, in book and in the movie, is astonishing to watch unfold. Her cutting her hair, her rebellion against the Castevettes and her husband’s control, the rights to her baby and her choice to be a mother or not, and her own push to find out what is really going on behind the walls of her home and beyond – all signs of women’s fight for rights. This book can be looked at under many lights, both horror and political.

Regardless of your preference, though, this is the perfect Halloween read for this year or any year!

Rating 10

Have you read “Rosemary’s Baby” or have watched the movie?

What are your thoughts on them?

Do you have any Halloween Recommendations?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Spooky Reading!

~C.C.

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Blog Tour, ARC Review, Giveaway: Ravaging the Duke By J.R. Salisbury

Blog Tour, ARC Review, Giveaway: Ravaging the Duke By J.R. Salisbury

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Title: Ravaging the Duke
Author: J.R. Salisbury
Series: Mayfair Bk. 2
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

r- about the book.png

Inheriting the title from his murdered father, Alec finds just how dire things really are. His father’s gambling obsession left the family with nothing but the entailed properties. The ton views him as a disgraced duke. Alec, now The Duke of Wexwood, finds himself in need of a bride. One with a substantial dowry. It needn’t be a love match as Alec doesn’t believe love exists, except in rare cases. He needs a woman who can help him rebuild the dukedom.

Margaret Douglas is an American recently arrived back in England. She has fulfilled her late father’s wishes by returning with her mother. Now she needs to find a husband. One who won’t squander her dowry, someone who’ll see her as an equal.

Introduced by her cousin, the Earl of Norwood, Margaret and Alec come to an agreement which quickly turns into a passionate romance. 

Lurking in the background are secrets—ones Margaret can’t hide from the duke. Secrets she brought from America. What will happen when Alec finds out what she’s hiding?

 

r- about the author

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Amazon bestselling author J.R. Salisbury divides her time between the U.S. and U.K. with her aging Yorkie, Rocco. When in the U.K. she finds herself shrouded in history, making an author’s imagination come alive.

J.R. writes novels surrounding the Victorian era and Scottish historical romance with perfectly imperfect heroes and strong, sassy heroines.

Contact

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

r- my review

It has been awhile since I’ve picked up an historical romance novel. I remember back in high school when I used to fly right through them not for the romance, but the historical aspect of it. This one, I felt was a great start back into the genre.

We travel back to the times when arranged marriages were pertained to be fruitful due to titles, dowry obtained by one or both parties, or alliances. I assumed this was between the late 1800s. This case came into play greatly pertaining to the two characters: Alec and Margaret.

Alec’s legacy is in great peril due to his father’s gambling addiction. He has been currently seeking a wealthy female to wed in order to settle debts and re-establish his families’ title. He’s gone through plenty of potentials, but none of them has stuck. Then there is Margaret Douglas.

Margaret is independent and a good head on her shoulders. She will not accept proposals for anyone who she does not deem worthy of her. Alec is introduced and they begin to both realize they may be trouble for each other due to their own secrets. As Love begins to bloom and grow, Margaret realizes she wants to “save” Alec and help him to restore his title. However, it may be too much for both of them to bare.

This is a well-crafted novel to be sure. The past came to life and jumped through the pages. Women were not known to raise their voice due to their stance in society. Margaret is not on of those dainty characters I’ve read in other historical novels who will slightly help their love interests and in the end it was more of the man who did the work, not the women. Margaret is constantly fighting for her voice to be heard and she breaks through!

Rating 8

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Book Tour, ARC Reviews, & Giveaway: Almost Human Series By Melanie Novak

Book Tour, ARC Reviews, & Giveaway: Almost Human Series By Melanie Novak

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Series
Almost Human, First Trilogy

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Fatal Infatuation (Bk. 1)
Avaiable: Amazon
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Lost Reflections (Bk. 2)
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Available: Amazon
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Series
Almost Human The Second Trilogy

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Born to Blood
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Descendant of Darkness
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Destined for Divinity
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Fatal Infatuation

Shy Felicity never expected to gain the attention of a handsome man…or a vampire, but she’ll need all the help she can get to navigate difficulties of addiction and desire; perils of zombies and vampires; and struggles with abuse, morality and…college.

Cain is an elder vampire who displays quiet confidence even as he struggles to overcome sins of his past. Surprisingly, he found that in losing his life he gained his faith and a purpose. His mission: find the hostile vampires that inhabit this small college town, and educate them to live in peace with humans. Their leader, Sindy, is a wicked temptress who has set her sights on Felicity’s new friend Ben. She will be difficult to control, but after meeting Felicity, Cain’s most difficult task lies in controlling himself.

Lost Reflections

Felicity has helped her friends to escape the venomous vixen Sindy, but cannot divine the motives of Cain, the vampire who captured first her gratitude, and then her heart.

She finds the historical account of Cain’s past enthralling and frightening. Now she must determine whether the addictive venom in Cain’s kiss is clouding her judgment, and if his thirst for her blood is a driving force too strong for their love to conquer. 

It’s difficult to contemplate such questions while under the attack of a vengeful vampire and his zombie slaves. Felicity’s heart has already been lost to Cain; will she lose her life as well?

Evolving Ecstasy

The relationship between Cain and Felicity has crested to a peak that leaves them unsure whether to step back from each other for safety, or jump into a future united in death. 

Felicity is unlike any human Cain has known before. She treats him as an equal; a man worthy of friendship, respect and even… love. She embodies qualities of gentleness and loving trust that he has never found among his own kind. This makes her far more desirable to him than any creature of darkness could ever be. 
The venom of Cain’s bite could protect Felicity from hostile vampires, but it would give him a measure of psychic control over her as well. Would Felicity only accept becoming a vampire, due to his addictive venom, coupled with the foolishness of a young girl in love? 

Perhaps there is a brighter future for her in the human world. Is Cain’s desire for Felicity’s love worth the loss of her life?

Born to Blood

Alyson used to think that vampires were almost human; that is, until she became one. Finally consenting to be lovingly turned by her boyfriend Mattie, Allie has come to possess traits and powers previously unknown among vampire kind. Now Allie seeks the help of the elder vampire Cain, to discover not only what she is capable of, but why.

Still healing from heartbreak over Cain, Felicity looked forward to a nice, human relationship, but dating the son of a vampire hunter, and having a psychic bond with one of his prey makes life far from normal. How can Ben and Felicity discover the truths of love when they are forced to live with so many secrets? 

Someone has contrived a diabolical plan to control destiny, and blood may not only be the catalyst for change, but also the master of manipulation behind it. Is rebirth as a vampire always at the discretion of an undead sire, or sometimes is one simply born to blood? 

Descendant of Darkness

The saga continues…

Heartbroken and soul searching, the vampire Cain believes he has finally found his purpose. He is mentoring Allie, who is grudgingly coming to terms with the fact that she is unique among vampires… The United One. Together with Allie’s husband Mattie, they are working to discover her powers, when the vampiress Sindy returns with some new tricks of her own.

Ben and Felicity have tried to leave their past involvements with vampires behind them, settling into human life together, despite having to deal with Ben’s vampire hunting father – but is mundane love strong enough to supersede the supernatural?

The vampire Elric has sabotaged his master’s plans to control The United One more times than for which he can expect to safely escape the consequences. Coven Master Arif knows what he wants, and the guiding forces behind his plan know how to help him get it… If Elric rebels, he could lose his love, but thwart disaster for the human race. Is staying true to the coven in order to save his love, worth the price the world will pay? 

When you are descended from darkness, is it still possible to reach for the light? In times of peace, prepare for war.

Destined For Divinity

Sindy is a vampiress of little morals and large aspirations…or at least, the old Sindy was. Love and friendship are becoming more important to her, and after becoming an accomplice to kidnapping and an agent of betrayal, she would be willing to settle for escaping the tangled web she has woven without getting herself dusted.
Felicity is being held for a ransom that no one of sound moral conscience should be willing to pay. Coven Master Arif, a vampire whose terrifying talent of mind-control holds her more tightly than chains, wants control of The United One; Alyson. A vampire of great power unlike any other, Alyson is a good friend to Felicity and a dear covenmate of… 
Cain, a vampire who declared his love for Felicity, but left her to fulfill her dreams of having a human family. Since renouncing his vampiric tendencies, Cain’s existence has been one of self-sacrifice and benevolence. To rescue Felicity, he would have to betray Alyson and endanger the world, an act that would torture his conscience for eternity. 
Perhaps Felicity’s husband Ben can rescue her, but to ensure Felicity’s safety he would have to play by Arif’s rules. Is Ben willing to make a deal with the devil to retrieve his wife? Or should he put his differences aside to try and work with Cain, his former rival, to find a solution? Cain may be able to help rescue Felicity, but is he willing to give her up…again? 
Alyson has never been one to meekly follow others. Is it time for The United One to take a stand of her own? Her blood dictates that her divine destiny is to rule vampire-kind. Maybe it is time to lay down some rules! A battle is sure to ensue…can Alyson protect everyone she loves? 
Will Felicity survive Arif’s wrath to keep her life…and her humanity, or when all is said and done, will she find herself ALMOST HUMAN? 

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Hello, fellow readers! For this set of reviews, I’m going to review the first trilogy as a whole before reviewing the second one later in the post instead of doing separate reviews for each book to make it easier. Also, I recommend you read the trilogies as a whole instead of the separate books. It’s easier to understand and flows better this way.

This first set revolves about college freshman Felicity who begins to go to college in a small town that is plagued by vampires. She works at a local bookstore and meets Cain while being attacked by local vampires when she is walking home with her coworker Ben. Cain fights them off and instantly attracts Felicity due to him rescuing her.

There are Twilight vibes through the first book, but it gains it’s own footing after the first few chapters. I was wondering why Felicity’s parents were old fashioned due to the fact she didn’t have a cell phone. She is very immature despite her age, but since she came from a pretty heavily controlled background I could understand that. She eventually began growing up as through the first installment. Still, I struggled to like her. I almost wanted to spray her with cold water, she would not chill out with all the boy talk.

Now, Cain reminded me like Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Tall, strong brooding game, and a whole lot of guilt he is clearly carrying on his back. He has a lot to teach Felicity when it comes to vampires. Also, huge knight and shining armor allure to him that you can’t help but admire.

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This book is mainly used as a platform of what the rest of the series is going to look like. There wasn’t a whole lot of action and it was pretty slow. I felt like I was watching a new teen vampire drama in my head and achingly waited for it to pick up. Instead, it abruptly stopped right when it began to make a turnaround. There were repetitive pieces that could have been removed to insert content from the sequel and it was annoying. On the other hand, it made me want to jump into the next book.

The second book throws us back into the aftermath of the first book. We get a deeper look into the past of the villain, Sindy, and our sweet lover, Cain. And, wait for it, we get zombies. That’s right, you heard me right…ZOMBIES!

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The second “chapter” is more developed than the first and overall it flows much better than the first. Cain and Felicity’s relationship gets steamier, but it turns out that he may have feelings for Sindy as well. I remember when I read this parts and I was like, “Um, excuse me? No, no, just NO!” I don’t care if she is like a vampire version of Faith from Buffy and Cain feels for her. No! No excuse!

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The repetitiveness continued, however, and it made it hard for me to continue at times. I pressed through because I needed to know what happened in the final book. And oh, was I ready for it!

So, Cain bites Felicity in order to protect her from other vampires. It kind of reminded me of Bill Compton from True Blood claiming Sookie. Except instead of verbally saying it, he bites her and therefore seals the deal. According to this series vampire lore, the venom secreted from a vampire’s fangs can become addicting. In other vampire books, we see this issue come up time and time again. Add in that Felicity is still an immature, barely legal teen puts a damper on the whole situation as well, but I digress. Love is love, even in a paranormal romance novel.

tumblr_nq2dzgpQw51teja04o1_250.gifBen, Felicity’s friend from the very beginning, become more to the forefront in this book and weird things begin happening involving those two. I’m not talking platonic things either….

This final book in this volume is one where I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading half the time because it did not go how I expected it too. It just didn’t. See, Ben’s father comes to town and turns things upside down. Others may be surprised with the secret he reveals, but I actually wasn’t. Maybe it’s because it was apparent due to Ben’s draw for killing vampires…maybe.

We also get the future trilogy established through Alyson, Ben’s friend from the first book who continues to be there in the background of the second and third book. She’s dating a vampire as well and he returns to give her the gift of immortality and thus, we will be siding along with Allie more so in the second trilogy and placing Felicity and Cain on the back burner.

Rating 6

For the second trilogy, I’m going to sum it all of up in one word: Intense. Allie’s transformation into a vampire reaps strange results because she is now wielding some serious power that no other vampire has. She is taken under Cain’s wing in order for him to teach her ways on how to keep those around her safe and also what she may be able to do with her powers. Oh, I forgot to mention he is a brooding mess because *spoiler* he abandoned Felicity in the last book.

The first half of the second series is mainly about Allie turning into a vampire and being about Allie, Mattie, and Cain. Ben and Felicity’s relationship is taking place in the background mostly then everything comes to a head in the final book of it. It’s a step up from the previous series. It had it’s draggy moments, but overall I like the second trilogy better than the first.

If you need a vampire fix – give this series a try!

Rating 7

Want a chance to win 3x Paperback Sets and Swag Packs?

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Book Tour, ARC Reviews, & Giveaway: The Thorne Brothers Series By Lee Kilraine

Book Tour, ARC Reviews, & Giveaway: The Thorne Brothers Series By Lee Kilraine

Titles: Give It Up & Give and Take
Author: Lee Kilraine
Series: The Thorn Brothers
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Google Play/Kobo
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r- about the book

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Give It Up

Beckett. Asher. Gray. Eli. Ryker. Wyatt. Five out of six very different brothers reunited—and working to make their construction firm a success. But oldest brother Beckett just found their major new project becoming one hard and sexy challenge . . .

A rough childhood tore Beckett and his brothers apart. It took everything he had to track them down and establish Six Brothers Construction. He only trusts them—and his drive to win. Now if SBC can build a billionaire team owner’s much-hyped new mansion, it will put them on the map—and finally fulfill Beckett’s promise to take care of his siblings. Too bad he’ll have to collaborate with hot new rival Samantha Devine, who’s throwing him curves on-site, out-the-box . . . and between the sheets.

Sam knows from experience that arrogant good-ole-boy Beckett is long, strong, and built to go the distance. But this is her only shot to prove she and her fledgling design company can succeed on her own terms. She’ll match Beckett’s expertise by day—and reignite the explosive heat between them by night. But when passion threatens to become real love, will this competition separate them for good . . . or make the sizzling collaboration of a lifetime?

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Give and Take

Six Brothers Construction was built to reunite a family and heal a painful past. So far it’s opened to rave reviews. But the youngest sibling is about to discover that the right woman can shake even a rock-solid foundation . . .

Wyatt Thorne was so traumatized by his mother’s abandonment he didn’t speak until he was six. At 26, he’s still the quiet type—strong and silent, most comfortable with a hammer in his hand and work to do. But the reassuring rhythm of his life is interrupted when his brother Beckett decides to pay forward their unused office space to a needy start-up. Enter Rhia Hollis, flighty, impulsive, and outspoken—everything that drives Wyatt crazy. Only this time in the sexiest, most irresistible way . . .

Rhia is determined to disprove her reckless, party girl image by making her new company, Seize the Day, the premier event planning firm in Raleigh. She has big dreams, and the Thornes’ offer of a free command center is a huge help. But Wyatt’s gruff, stubborn resistance to her presence is an annoying hindrance. They’re as different as night and day, yet when they begin to meet in the middle, the sparks fly hot. Is this a case of opposites distract—or the beginning of a beautiful long-term project?

 

r- my review

Before I begin my reviews, I’d like to take a moment….

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Ok, now I’m good to go. Let’s dive into these two books of lust, banter, and a whole lot of Thorne!

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The Throne brothers, aside from a construction business, have a long line of former lovers under their belt which is established throughout the beginning of the novel. Beckett, in particular, believes in this curse due to the fact that all of the families’ relationships, however brief, are quick to fade into the black as quick as they were to begin. He doesn’t have time to attempt any such maneuvers with anyone in particular. Well, that is except one woman who slipped through his fingers after a steamy encounter.

Samantha Devine has worked her butt off to establish her design business with her best friend. Coming from a background where her father is a well-known builder, she abandoned him due to his mistreatment.  And despite all odds, she’d obviously do anything to keep it afloat.

The universe (or the author in this case) works it’s magic by bringing in a client who wants both Samantha and Beckett’s companies to work together to create the perfect home in five months. Five months! I could not imagine a project that huge complete in that short amount of time let alone work with someone I had a, well, pleasant encounter that turned sour.

Anyway, Samantha and Beckett struggle initially to put their differences to aside to complete the task. Only their way of putting them aside is not the conventional way we would perceive to taking care of them…if you know what I mean…tumblr_nzht9h2fO01r2pp2to1_500.gif

The book basically establishes the Thorne brothers and their individual personalities. This one pertaining to Beckett and Sam, is the perfect beginning to a series and I was completely more than ready to jump into the sequel!

Rating 9

 

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This one surrounds Wyatt Thorne. Now, Beckett practically raised his brothers. Wyatt, in particular, took the trauma of their families’ problems to heart through the inability to speak until his twenties. He takes his work in the company seriously and pours himself into it and he’s perfectly fine with keeping to himself and doing so. That is until Beckett decides to rent out a part of their office to a new event planning business. But low and behold, the owner, Rhia, is a former partier who is trying to get her feet on the ground through her new business venture and in doing so continues to step on Wyatts toes, so to speak.

A side story in this one is continued from the first book where the brothers hired a P.I. in order to find their missing brother Ryker and they accidentally discover an unknown sister instead.

These books keep getting progressively better and better. I am eager to see if they ever find Ryker and what other secrets they may uncover as each brother proves that maybe they aren’t cursed and can find love.

Rating 9

 

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Want a Chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card? Enter Here!

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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ARC Book Review: The Exchange By M.F. Lorson

ARC Book Review: The Exchange By M.F. Lorson

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Title: The Exchange
Author: M.F. Lorson
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Available: Amazon
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**Disclaimer – I received an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review in any way.**

ag- about the book

He came forward in time.

She changed his world.

What happens if he doesn’t want to go back?

Ari hates the Institute and everything it stands for. But to save her father’s job, she’s agreed to help host a time traveling exchange student. She only has to behave for 3 months while he’s here, then off he goes back to 1903 where he came from. Easy peasy, right? There’s just one problem. The more time Ari spends with James the harder she falls for him.

James is eager to leave behind his hard life as a farmer to escape to 2030 where he may actually have a future. His term at the Institute is three months, but he has zero plans of returning home ever again. In order to make sure that doesn’t happen, though, he needs an ally. Could his reluctant host, Ari, be the one to break the rules? 

ag- my review

Ari is not a stranger to breaking the rules. That is until her most recent attempt at rebellion places her father’s job with The Institute in serious jeopardy. In order for him to keep his job, Ari must help with exchange students being pulled from different points in history into this advanced future, get used to the world they are seeing.

This form of “exchange students” is an amazing new concept due to the fact all these teens are being pulled from the past. James is coming from 1903, right before WWI, another girl is coming from the 60’s, and so on. Despite only being able to remain in the year of 2030 for three months, these students are not there to only learn about the future but teach the current students about the past. Then they are sent back home without the memories of their previous three months in the future intact – yeah, not fair! That is, at least, what the students are told….

Ari is paired up with James and their connection is immediate and continues to develop through the story. James does not want to go back to his time due to his current placement of slaving away on his family farm. Ari begins not to want him to go back because of her attraction to him. Soon, them along with Ari’s best friend Michael and his exchange student Elizabeth go on the hunt of unraveling the mystery of The Institute’s hidden agenda concerning the exchange students.

This book is nothing short of brilliant! It’s a short, yet enticing ride. The action is well balanced with the other events in the book, uh, I could not get enough of it! For a time traveling, YA novel, you won’t be disappointed!

Rating 10

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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