[ARC REVIEW] Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

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REVIEW: Fractured Memories by Jo Schneider

*I received a digital copy of the book from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Fractured Memories
Author: Jo Schneider
Series: (Jagged Scars #1)
Publication date: May 2oth 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Sixteen year old Wendy never knew the world before the Starvation. She’s learned to put her trust in her knives, and her confidence in her fighting ability. When the Skinnies attack her compound, she’s the lone survivor.

Injured and near death, Wendy is rescued and nursed back to health by mysterious strangers. Her saviors offer her a place among them, but trust has never been one of Wendy’s strengths, and suspicion soon leads to evidence that these people might be the group who killed her family.

The decision to get her revenge, and take the settlement down from the inside out is easy. Keeping her distance from those she must befriend in order to make it happen proves to be much more difficult.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4/5
Fractured Memories is an action packed, fast paced, dystopia. It’s a world where a disease called ‘starvation’ (because once you eat ‘bad food’, you starve no matter what you eat) kills half the world’s population and turns many into ‘Skinnies’ (they’re basically zombies. They eat raw meat) until they too die. It’s where said Skinnies attack Wendy’s compound on the day of her 16th birthday and kill everyone she knows. At least, she thinks so. She can hardly remember the event after being rescued by people of another compound lead by a man named Mike. And from there begins Wendy’s plan for revenge.

The Skinnies were downright creepy. At one point, they talk and it gets clearer that they’re not in their minds. Who would be after suffering such a disease? But either way, they’re much like a pack of rabid wolves, lurking in packs and attacking any food source they come across. Even if that food source stands on two legs and a had beating heart.

Which brings me to say that the action? Yeah, it was <b>fantastic</b>! Just from reading I’ve learned so much more about fighting. Mainly because the main character, Wendy, is best at fighting (since she’s had to fight practically every day of her life by either training or protecting her compound when she was old enough) and so her observations and new techniques are something we really pay attention too. Mainly because we’re rooting for her the entire time. We also get to see different styles of fighting though, during training and during the fights Wendy takes part in. She’s skilled in thinking quickly and finding a way out of a bad situation. She can flip men thrive her size! She’s strong but weak as well, breaking down at times and having all those flashes mess with her sanity. That’s what makes it easier to connect with her and envoy the story.

Wendy is actually a really great character. She’s practically overcome by the need for revenge when she realizes she’s the only survivor. She wants whoever did this to her to pay and she ready has an idea of who did it. They won’t be getting away this time. She has a fantastic hold over her emotions and control, and she can easily take five men down. How badass is that?! She’s also really strong both mentally and physically. She’s terrifying when angry though. Which helps her in the long run because no one sees her coming when she’s angry. They hardly see her coming when she’s in control.

I also really liked the other characters. Especially the group Wendy grew to call her friends. Cal, Kev, and Arie are probably the best group of friends for Wendy to be a part of. They’re loyal, they care, and they even followed her in the end because they wanted to make sure she was all right. They’re good for her and have helped her a lot. I’m definitely excited for the next book just to see them all together again!

Overall, I really enjoyed Fractured Memories and I definitely recommend this to you lovers of action, dystopia and post apocalyptic books.

~Sage<3

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW: Like Candy by Debra Doxer

 *I’m posting this as part of the XpressoBookTours Like Candy Blog Tour. I received a free ebook copy of this in order to do so.

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Title: Like Candy
Author: Debra Doxer
Series: (Candy, #1)
Publication date: July 28th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.
Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.
Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.
Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.
Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.
And Now For My Review!
Format: Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5
      I enjoyed Like Candy a lot more than I thought I would.
Why?
      Because It was so incredibly easy to fall into the story! When I started reading it, I only meant to read a chapter or two to get a feel for what I’d be reading the next day (because it was late and I needed sleep but I wanted to know anyway) and instead I’ve suddenly read six chapters and I don’t want to stop! (I did anyway, but I definitely didn’t want to.) And then I picked it back up the next morning and proceeded to finish it. Just like that. It’s because the writing flowed well the story hooked me easily.
      It was full of mystery, suspense, twists, and the likes. The mystery was who kept breaking into their home (even though they had an alarm set up and a locks), who wanted to hurt Candy and her father (because her father’s job is… sketchy), and who wanted to hurt Candy to get to her father (because of his job)? And then it turned to who is Jonah really? Because he’s obviously a pretty secretive person when it comes to himself, so why wouldn’t he be hiding something? Which brought the thought, who else is lying or hiding something? The suspense was trying to figure out who the person wanting to harm them was, what they would do next, and why exactly did they want to hurt Candy’s father. The twist was at the very end. Jonah’s secret, what he hid, wasn’t so shocking; the fact that people wanted to hurt her father also wasn’t shocking (because really, he kills people for a living. Who wouldn’t want to get revenge on him for killing their father or brother?); and the man’s identity (the one who wanted to hurt them) wasn’t so shocking either (because we hear of him, but are never introduced to him which inspires the question: why? And he’s good with computers, so who else could it be?). But it’s the fact that while her father was being chocked, she decided to do something her father never wanted her to do. And I won’t say what because it’s pretty much a spoiler, but her father was both disappointed and defeated in that moment.
      Like Candy also has a connectable female lead. Candy. And she is strong in the sense that while with her father she may at times back down, she always has a plan to try and get him to see her point of view, and other times she fights him until she no longer can. With others, the ones who betray her, back stab her, purposely try to hurt her, or just want to mess with her, she never lets them get the better of her without getting back at them. She always gets her revenge. She’s insecure in a way where at times she really does wonder if anyone can really love her. When she’s having a bad day or just feels like crap, she wears revealing clothes because at least no one will think she’s as miserable as she is if she looks good. Also, she’ll get attention, even if it isn’t the good kind. She’s kind because she feels bad for the kind boys who try to get with Parker or Lea and end up dismissed or hurt, she cares about her father even when he’s being nothing but cold and distanced from her, always worried about whether or not he’s in trouble, and she cares deeply about Theo and worries about him because of his chemo withering him away. She’s thoughtful in a way that while at times she may not always see it at first from other’s eyes, by the end she sees what they mean and puts herself in their shoes. She always ends up understanding or seeing why they might think or feel in that way. She’s also very eager for acceptance. She wants to please her father, to have him love her in an affectionate way although she knows he’s not like that. It’s rare to get a hug from him, and she feels alone because of that. If she is having a bad and just needs a hug, she can’t count on her father to comfort her. In fact, at times he tells her she’s being unreasonable or childish. She’s mischievous too, though, always quick to think up a plan for revenge. Her pranks are ones she thinks of quickly and can still pull off perfectly. She’s that determined not to let others get away with doing wrong by her.
      In this book, there’s a romance all girls yearn for. We all want that guy in our life who looks at us like we’re his world, the guy who’ll research places all night long just to find the perfect place to take us, the kind of guy who is a gentleman but also has a devious side to keep us on our toes, a guy who is nervous but confident, thoughtful, and always seems to know our thoughts and what’s best for us. We want the kind of guy we can connect with on a deeper level who will love us for who we are, even if we try to hide ourselves. And that’s what Jonah and Candy are, what they have. They get each other on a lever beyond one I can comprehend, and they just work. And while I hate that he lied to her and was at times pretty rude, I don’t want to see them apart. That’s how well the author wrote them; the author made us love them, rendering it almost completely impossible to hate them or think, I hope they ruin each other. I love it.
      The only things about this book I don’t like? The cliff hanger (obviously, because this book isn’t even published yet(or, it wasn’t when I read the book and wrote this review), so now I have to wait longer for the next!), and the utter importance for her to follow in her father’s footsteps. I get that she wants his love and acceptance, but to eagerly want to kill people? Even if you think they’re bad guys? Candy has a heart, a big, good heart. But her need to be like her father might ruin her. I don’t think she can kill someone in cold blood and then not regret it or relive it ever other moment after. And I don’t want her to have to.
      Overall, I really love Like Candy and so I recommend this to everyone. But mainly lovers of mystery and romance.
 Debra

AUTHOR BIO:
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”

Connect with Debra. She loves hearing from readers.

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REVIEW: The Season of Lightning by Kate Avery Ellison

*I received a free ebook copy of this from Xpresso Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

SoL

Title: The Season of Lightning
Author: Kate Avery Ellison
Publication date: February 20th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Goodreads || Amazon || B&N


Synopsis:
Emma meets Robin Hood in this antebellum-esque historical fantasy set in the same fantasy world as A Gift of Poison.

Verity Elysius is the only daughter of a famous retired general and rich plantation owner. She lives in an insulated world of wealth and privilege, where she spends her time riding her horse, sassing her lady’s companion, and being tormented by the family’s handsome but irritating nobleman friend, Lord Roth. But when a mysterious, masked vigilante called the Hawk begins stirring up trouble and freeing silvras, the oppressed lower class, Verity’s world is turned upside down as she is challenged about everything she knows about her world and her place in it.

Format: Ebook
Rating: 4.5/5

      The Season of Lightning is a fantasy book akin to that of a historical romance type of novel, with the romance at the end (though there isn’t much romance, to be honest). The fantasy part doesn’t mean the book is infused with magic and spells and witches, rather, it’s the world itself with the different places and types of people (Tyyros, Silvra ext.). It feels so much like a historical book though due to the vibe the world gives off, reminding us of the 1800s with the way people speak and dress and how the world works. It made for a more interesting story, seeing as how Verity is a rich girl whom is supposed to be a proper young lady. But it isn’t just about a rich girl’s life, or how one with such money lived in those times. It’s about a rich girl with an improper attitude slowly realizing the world around her and the horrors within it. It’s about a young lady seeing the wrongs and wanting to right them, but not knowing how. It’s about freeing the lower class who are beaten and starved so the rich don’t have to do their work. It’s about growing and maturing and trying to do the right thing.

      Which is why I’ll start off with Verity’s character. Verity is a noblewoman, rich and young,and stuck in a time where women are seen as nothing but pretty objects to brighten a room, where they’re seen as weak beings only concerned with parties and dresses and gossip. Verity is anything but dress obsessed and empty headed. In fact, she has a quick brain and a sharp tongue which drove her father mad, and tended to get her in trouble. She admits to liking parties, yes, but that’s definitely not all she thinks about. Instead, she likes to ride her horse, run around bare-foot, she wants to play cards with her father and the other men. Basically, she’s a lady doing things men do, and because of that she is improper. Also, she has a fire in her, a fierceness which is most definitely to be improper since it allows her to talk back and defend herself. It gives her strength and that makes her a character more lovable and likable. I also really enjoyed how Verity matured in this novel. Whenever she was faced with something unpleasant (like a man hating on her Silvra friend, Trilly, soldiers with guns threatening them, the Hawk), she doesn’t turn away. Instead, she learns from it and the more she learns from situations she gets herself in, the more she grows and matures. I think she grew the most in the camp and in Tasglorn though, which I loved reading about.

      The reason for her growth however, all started when a mysterious person they called The Hawk, began to attack various rich plantations and free the Silvras and Tyyros (who are slaves, no matter how one might look at it). That is when Verity realizes the lives of the lower class, realizes the wrongs being done to them and begins to want to help and do all she can to make things right. And while I liked the Hawk for freeing the slaves and giving them a better life and his commitment to his cause, I wasn’t so fond of the way he went about achieving his goals. He was fueled by revenge and liked to burn down crops and home even though he didn’t need to. He wasn’t robbing the rich to feed the poor as Robin Hood did; he was taking down the rich and freeing the oppressed.

      I liked Lord Roth from the beginning. He came across as sweet, intelligent, and charming, though he adored making fun of Verity for obvious reasons. He had his own way about things and while at times I wasn’t so fond of him for treating Verity like a child and being fairly rude, he was an overall great character. He grew as well, like Verity did, though not as much. He stopped treating her like a child and she saw and remembered the good things about him, the things he did so she didn’t have such a hard time. It was rather obvious how it would end between them, though I wish the romance was more developed because there really wasn’t much of it.

      Which brings me to the world building! The world was very well-developed, feeling as real as our own as we got to see inner workings of politics as well as the outcome of chaos. We got to see how Verity’s world suffered and worked through the loss of money and crops and workers. We got to see the different worlds, the different workings of the different people and places (though not so much their politics, but their groups near Verity). It was a fantastic world and the author did a great job of describing it and making it feel real.

      The writing was also very good. We got to see the world through Verity, so there were no big info-dumps, and we got to see the world change through her eyes. I was so invested and immersed in this book that I didn’t want to put it down. It was just so easy to fall into and so hard to get out! And while it wasn’t exactly fast-paced (which I have no problems with), it was so riveting that I can hardly complain!

     Overall, everything about this book is great. And while I would’ve loved to see the romance be more developed, there’s not much to complain about. I would definitely recommend this for any of you who find in interestign or love fantasy and historical books.

~Sage<3

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW: We Are Watching by M. Stephen Stewart

 *I’m posting this as part of the XpressoBookTours We Are Watching Blog Tour. I recieved a free ebook copy of this in order to do so.
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WeAreWatching
Title: 
We Are Watching
Author: M. Stephen Stewart
Series: (Mindshare #1)
Publication date: December 16th 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Henry Malone’s childhood was shattered by the unexplained suicide of his father. Now a teenager, his days are spent studying to become a Neural Implant Technician for Planetary Link Corporation, helping them maintain an iron grip over his walled country and every iota of knowledge contained within—but he leads a double life. Henry’s nights are spent helping his mother wage a cyber war against them in her quest to find the truth behind his father’s death.

He’s managed to keep his two lives separate, a delicate balance that’s endangered after he repairs the neural implant of a stranger. He finds she’s in possession of illegal memories from the outside world, unauthorized knowledge of his father, and a message: speak to me later and tell no one. Henry has a choice to make—ignore the message and maintain his double-life, or answer and risk everything to uncover secrets Planetary Link would kill to keep buried.

And Now For My Review!
Format: Ebook
4/5

      We Are Watching is a well written sci-fi novel full of action, strength, bravery, growth, secrets, deceit, and a chance to make everything right. Henry Malone has had a tough life, losing his father to a rumored suicide and having everyone use him to get shares and fame without caring about Henry and how he might feel about that. Because of that, Henry has an ill temper and tends to lose his cool at any mention of his father or mother. Which is also why he only has one real friend, Mark, who is there for him and doesn’t try exposing his secrets so he can benefit from them. Other than Mark, Henry only has his mother left, who stays in bed all day long on her NEX, and John Alford who treats him like a son and tries his best to be there for Henry. But while most of the world has moved on from trying to pick the truth from lies about Henry’s father’s death, his mother still works tirelessly to get to the truth. And it costs her.

     While I liked the characters, they weren’t quite fully developed. I would’ve loved to see more of Riya and Mark. While they are both characters that are in the novel almost always with Henry, we still don’t really know about them or have a good, solid feel for them. I want to know more about their backgrounds, their personalities, things we didn’t get to see. I mean, we all know Mark is strong, loyal to Henry, a great friend, and doesn’t like getting into trouble like Henry has a knack for. And we all know Riya is a strong, tough, determined young woman. She’s vulnerable and good at acting like all she ever does is cry when she needs to, she’s also good with a gun and she’s very knowledgeable. But what do we really know of her? She fought to get to Henry because of a vision her father had and risked her life to do so, she can mask her emotions fairly easily, she’s lost a lot like Henry, and she believes Henry can help her and her family. That’s just the surface of them though, I would’ve loved to see more of what lays underneath.

      Aside from that, I enjoyed how the information was spread out in the novel, and how much we came to learn without really feeling too overwhelmed. The information was given when we needed it and only when we needed it. But I also feel like we only really got to know Jeppe and Ourai’s sides. We never got all that much information on Planetary Link even though they’re clearly the bad guy. We get such a small glimpse of them, that honestly, Jeppe seems like the worst enemy they could have; though we all know that’s not true because of what little we do know of Planetary Link. Plink (Planetary Link) suppresses information, suppresses everything actually, that they feel the citizens of Gulf Market don’t need to know. In fact, the citizens only know what they for their jobs and their knowledge ends there! Plus, they’re spied on, always being watched and listened to. They have no privacy! Can you imagine that?

      Overall, I enjoyed reading this book despite the few issues. I would recommend this to lovers of sci-fi, and distopia.

M.
AUTHOR BIO:

M. Stephen Stewart is a graduate of Indiana University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He makes his home in Indianapolis with his wife and two dogs. In his spare time, Matt is an avid sports fan, gamer, and reader, who loves to connect with new people. You can usually find him around town with his wife, exercising, or in front of his computer working on a new project.
Author links:

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BLOGTOUR/REVIEW: Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell

*I’m posting this as part of the XpressoBookTours Wolfskin Blog Tour. I recieved a free ebook copy of this in order to do so.

*This is also posted on Coffee & All Things Random.

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Wolfskin

Title: Wolfskin
Author: W.R. Gingell
Publication date: May 1st 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

Synopsis:
‘If you want adventure, you have to march right up to it and kick it in the shins . . .’
At fourteen, barefoot and running wild, Rose is delighted to be apprenticed to Akiva, the witch of the forest. She thinks it will be all enchantment and excitement, and not so much fuss about baths. The reality is much more sober and practical- that is, until she meets a mysterious wolf in the forest and is tricked into stepping off the path . . .
In young, naive Rose, Bastian sees a way of escape. Cursed to remain in the shape of a wolf after running afoul of a powerful enchantress, he has lived many decades under a spell, and now he is both desperate and ruthless. But by breaking part of Bastian’s curse, Rose has caught the attention of Cassandra, the enchantress who cursed him: and Cassandra is by no means ready to forgive and forget.
Meanwhile, wardens have been disappearing from the forest, one by one. Rose is certain that Cassandra is behind the disappearances, but can she and Bastian get to the bottom of the matter before Akiva disappears as well? And are Bastian’s motives entirely to be trusted?
Sometimes the little girl in the red hood doesn’t get eaten, and sometimes the wolf isn’t the most frightening thing in the forest.
And Now For My Review!
Format: Ebook
Stars: 5/5
      Wolfskin is full of magic, witches, curses, power, action, romance, a cursed wolf, a bitter Enchantress, spells, growth, strength, trust, and bravery. It’s about a young girl seeking out adventure who becomes an apprentice to a witch, who ends up breaking the first part of a wolf’s curse, who learns spells and magic, and tries to figure out who is behind the missing Wardens and why they’re doing it. It’s about a fourteen year old girl maturing and growing into a young woman who finds love, friendship, and family. It’s about Rose’s adventures and the situations she gets into because of her naivety. It’s a tale you’ll surely love.
  • Characters:
    • Rose is feisty, adventurous, and wants to be a Pirate so she never has to marry. She’s strong and brave but also young and naive. She’s a very believable character. She also tends to act without thinking. So watching her grow up, fight Cassandra, try to save Bastian from his curse, and try to solve the mystery of the missing Wardens was very satisfying and enjoyable.
    • Bastian is probably my favorite. At first, he’s a conniving, vicious wolf who’s about to eat Rose on their first meeting. But when she breaks the first part of his curse he isn’t so bad. He’s a cursed man in the form of a wolf because of what he did, and he’s playful, protective, kind, thoughtful, and I loved reading about his interactions with Rose. Sure, at times he was slightly scary and his behavior was unsettling (mostly when the black surrounded the gold of his aura) but overall he was a character I really love.He’s also tortured and brooding, but he’s quick witted and definitely entertaining, especially when with Rose. Their banter never bored me and was very entertaining.
    • Akiva is a Warden who took on Rose as an apprentice. She’s not your typical lovey, dovey, coddle-you woman. No. She’s a tough, no nonsense old lady with a hard fist and scolding eyes. She makes Rose work for everything and gets her to figure out things on her own since Akiva was never told anything whilst she was young; she had to figure it out herself.Akiva shows her emotions in odd ways, but once you get to know her it’s easy enough to tell when she’s happy, relieved, pleased and so on. She teaches Rose about magic and responsibility and she plays a major role in who Rose grows to be.
  • Pacing:
    • To me, I feel the pacing was perfect. Though at times, with all the parties Rose went to because her sister, Gwendolen, is obsessed with them (basically), it was a little repetitive. it was great seeing Rose interact with Gilbert at those points, as well as Liz and Harry, but I feel like maybe we could go without the party? Things happened at the parties that really worked well with the story, which it needed, but I wasn’t that big of a fan reading about dancing and Gwen’s little minions and Rose just talking to Gil or being forced to dance. It was well written, but not something I myself loved.
  • Writing:
    • It flowed well, kept me hooked, and allowed me to visualize everything fairly easily. The dialogue between characters never felt forced or unreal. It’s pretty much perfect.
    • I love how Bastian and Rose didn’t fall in love right away, as most stories would’ve played out. It helps that Rose was still a young girl when they meet, and that she treats him as more of a friend while Bastian tries to woo her for his own gain. But I love how gradual it is and how it’s not only for her, but him too.
  • World-Building:
    • Everything was easy enough to visualize and was incredibly well written. I feel like the world was flushed out well and I very much enjoyed talk of the forest because it was easy to see how much it means to the characters and why. It was like the forest was pulsing with it’s own life and that it felt emotions, which is great because the author really let all of it come through the writing.
    • I like how each Warden had a specific piece of the forest to claim as their own and care for. It really allowed you to understand the forest more because Wardens have to make sure the land is happy and healthy and the forest tens to act out or try to fight back when dying and uncared for.
    • The laws of the forest really made it feel so much more real. And we really get to explore the forest more since Rose loves adventure and tends to slip away from the path. We learn of what lives in the forest (somewhat) and why the forest allows them to do certain things. We learn of the forest’s magic and how much life it really holds.
    • The magic was fantastic. The gradual growth of Rose’s powers really helped us try to understand her magic. I like how she wasn’t instantly powerful, or holding this epic power just waiting to burst. I enjoyed reading as she tried day after day after day to see the forest lines without closing her eyes. It made everything feel more real because she had to work hard to get to where she wanted to be.
      Overall, I loved reading Wolfskin and I recommend this to everyone. Especially if you love to read about witches, wolves, magic, and fantasy.
WRAUTHOR BIO:
W.R Gingell is a Tasmanian author who enjoys reading, bacon, and slouching in front of the fire to write.
Author links:

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July 6th
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Excerpt
Books and Ashes >> Review
Girls With Books >> Excerpt
Author & Book Spotlights >> Review

July 7th
Book Nerd Paradise >> Review
A Book Addict’s Bookshelves >> Interview
happy tails and tales >> Review

July 8th
Coffee & All Things Random  >> Review {me}
CBY Book Club >> Excerpt
Bea’s Book Nook >> Review

July 9th
Bookwyrming Thoughts  >> Guest post
Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Review
Kimber Leigh Writes >> Interview

July 10th
Mandy’s Books and Beauty >> Review
Blog for readers, writers and bloggers by Daniela Ark >> Excerpt
Just Us Book Blog >> Review
Mythical Books >> Guest post

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