June Wrap-Up

Hey, so this is my sad little Wrap-Up for this month.

I’ve only read 6 books this month. Not counting Wattpad. I actually read so many books on Wattpad this month that it isn’t even funny. It got me really distracted. Otherwise I’d have read more books this month to review.

But anyway, just click the cover if you want to go to my review. 🙂

Reviewed:

     


I’ve decided to add in any blitzes that I do, because I mean, why not? I’m thinking about adding Cover Reveals as well, but I don’t think I will. That’s about it, for now. 🙂

Blitzes:

   Spectacle

 

~Sage<3

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW/EXCERPT: Scar of the Downers by Scott Keen

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

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

ScarOfTheDownersTourBanner1

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Title: Scar of the Downers
Author: Scott Keen
Publication date: February 27th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult


Synopsis:

Branded on the slaves in the Northern Reaches beyond Ungstah, the scar marks each one as a Downer. It is who they are. There is no escaping this world. Still, strange things are stirring.

Two foreigners ride through the Northern Reaches on a secret mission. An unknown cloaked figure wanders the streets of the dark city of Ungstah. What they want no one can be sure, but it all centers around a Downer named Crik.

Crik, too scared to seek freedom, spends his days working in his master’s store, avoiding the spirit-eating Ash Kings, and scavenging food for himself and his best friend, Jak. Until he steals from the wrong person. When Jak is sold to satisfy the debt, Crik burns down his master’s house and is sentenced to death.

To survive, Crik and his friends must leave behind their life of slavery to do what no other Downer has ever done before – escape from the city of Ungstah

An Excerpt:

Crik smiled. “I brought something for you.” He pulled out the torn piece of bread and handed it to her.

“Where did you get it?”

“A simple thank you is all I need,” said Crik. She gazed at him, and it felt as if he knew what she was thinking. “I’m careful. I’ve lived this long.”


“I didn’t say anything,” said Tinker. “But since you mentioned it. Thank you. You’re such a nice Downer . . . and that’s saying a lot. Some of them are crueler than their masters.”

Tinker took a bite of the bread and chewed slowly.

“Is it good?” Crik asked.

Tinker nodded. “It’s fresher than the ones Morta serves to her customers. I hope you didn’t go through a lot of trouble getting it.”

Crik thought about it and just said, “Not too much.” Then he picked a crumb out of her dirty, matted hair, which she brushed behind her ear.

“You had something in your hair,” said Crik, slightly embarrassed.

“Just one thing?” said Tinker.

“That I could see in the dark.”


They laughed. They always did when they met. All the grime on their skin, tears in their clothes, and lice in their hair disappeared when they were with each other. Crik didn’t feel like a Downer with Tinker. He felt like a young man; he felt brave, as if he could conquer the city. With her he wasn’t afraid of Kilvar, of the rats, the Ashes, or even the Gaunt King himself. The dangers of the city and the world melted away when they were together.

Getting up, Crik walked to the ledge of the roof and looked eastward into the darkness, past the torches and walls. He searched for the words to say, his gaze burrowing into the wall of night. Crik’s voice was quiet when he spoke.

“I heard something yesterday when I was in Briars and Thickets.”

“You went in there?” Tinker got up and crossed to him.

“That’s not the point.” Crik looked at her. “Some men were talking. I listened to their conversation. They spoke of something . . . something called the Avarah.”

Tinker’s brow furrowed, and her face turned serious. “The Avarah?”

“Yeah. You work in an inn. Have you heard people speak of them? Do you know anything about what they are?”

“I haven’t heard a lot,” said Tinker. “What I have heard isn’t very good. But they’re mainly just in stories. No one believes that they’re real. Why?”

“What were the stories about them like?”


Tinker grew quiet again as if she were deep in thought. “I’ve heard they were some kind of powerful being who used to live here long ago. But for some reason they don’t anymore. I guess the people in Ungstah killed them or something. Why? Why do you ask?”

“One man said they’ve returned.”

“Returned?” Tinker gave a little laugh. “I don’t think they’re even real. He was probably crazy. A lot of strange people come through the city.”

“That’s the thing,” said Crik. “This man is the Captain of the City’s Watch.”

Tinker crossed her arms. “Why do you ask me all these questions?”

“I was hoping that if the Avarah have returned . . . I was hoping they were good.”

“Be careful,” said Tinker, grabbing hold of his hand.

“Careful of what?”


“Hope can be dangerous thing for a Downer.”


“Hope is all I have.”


And now, on to my review!
Format: Ebook
4/5 stars

Scar of the Downers is an interesting new fantasy book. It is full of survival, strength, growth, trust, and the fight for freedom. It involves the Downers being treated like slaves, barely ever being fed and always having to do as their master asks. They are treated so poorly and cruelly, but then they have help and suddenly everything is looking brighter. It’s about friendship and trust and it’s a tale written to make scared characters a little braver, a littler more trusting, and a lot more loving.

What I Like:

  • The World-Building || The world building was well done, in my opinion. I mainly enjoyed the description of the evil lurking within the land and the cursed King, how Ungstah is described as darker than other cities so much so that travelers can feel the change once they’re close enough. It made for a much more scary type of vibe, and really helped the mystery grow where the King and his Guards are involved.
  • The Action || I love action, period, but I especially loved it in this book because of the magical elements. Aniel has this sword, right? And so, it can turn into water and end the lives of the Ash Kings, and it can also turn into fire. How cool is that?!
  • The Characters || Well, most of them. I enjoyed reading about Crik (he’s probably my favourite), Jak (or maybe he is), Tinker, Chaser, Aniel (she’s wicked cool), Talorc, Edem, and Gabril. I wasn’t so much a fan of Kilvar, Bhoor, and the other cruel Downer owners. I know they have to be cruel in order for the story to work as it does and I can understand that, I just don’t like them because if they were real I’d want to punch them in the face so bad. Overall though, the characters were great and I enjoyed the different voices us readers got to hear as we read. The visual we got was much richer because of that.
  • The Writing || It flowed well, and despite the filler-like vibe I felt most of the time, it was still a very enjoyable read because the writing really lured me in.

What I don’t like:

There’s not much; It’s mainly the pace. Throughout most of the book, I felt like it was all  a large filler. Not much seems to happen. I kept reading and all I got was that they were treated poorly (they were always hungry, thirsty, and dirty, always scouring the streets for whatever they could find), they needed to get money so Jak wouldn’t be sold (because their owner has a dept he needs payed but refuses to part with the silver he gained from killing a man, and so they stole from a house down a street), they aren’t that fond of some of the other Downers (Slink especially, since he always seems to sneak on them when they’re walking down the street), the Ash Kings almost killed them multiple times (since they were out on the streets during curfew trying to get food and money), and their owner is a cruel, cruel man. And yet, as you should realize, most of it happens in the same streets over and over again. It worked well with the story, but made the pace more slow and akin to that of a filler chapter.

I also didn’t like how quickly Slink changed. At first he’s this annoying, slightly creepy Downer that Crik and Jak weren’t fond of, as he was always sneaking up on them and even stole food from them once. Then suddenly when Aniel saves him he’s all nice and supportive and gets along with the others real well. I think there should have been more time taken to develop his change. Other than that though, I really enjoyed reading Scar of the Downers.

So, overall, Scar of the Downers was a very enjoyable read, despite the slow/filler-like pacing. I would recommend this to you lovers of action and fantasy.


ScottAUTHOR BIO:
Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he homeschools.
Author links:

THE TOUR STOPS

June 22nd
Kara the Redhead >> Review
Suzy Turner, YA Author  >> Guest post
Padme’s Library >> Excerpt

June 23rd
Mom With A Kindle >> Interview
Dowie’s Place >> Review
Mythical Books >> Guest post

June 24th
ConvergenceBookReviews >> Review
We Do Write >> Interview
Authors You Want to Read >> Excerpt
Just Us Book Blog >> Top 10 List

June 25th
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile >> Guest post
Coffee & All Things Random >> Review [me]
A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Excerpt

June 26th
Classy Cat Books >> Review
Brooke Blogs >> Top 10 List
Crazy Beautiful Reviews >> Excerpt
Fandemonium Network >> Interview

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~Sage<3

BOOK BLITZ: Spectacle by S.J. Pierce

SpectacleBlitzBanner
Spectacle Title: Spectacle
Author: S.J. Pierce
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Goodreads || Amazon || B&N || Kobo || Apple

Synopsis:

***This is currently a web series!!! I’m releasing a chapter at a time on my website at www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com. You can read there or go to Scribd, download their app, and read there.***

Hunger Games meets Avatar meets Gladiator in this spellbinding new Young Adult Science-Fiction web series by bestselling author Susan James Pierce.

Fear can make you a target…

Two hundred years after the Great Disaster, the day earthquakes ravaged Earth’s landscapes, humanity has finally regrouped and is working toward a better future. But in New America – one of three small, remaining landmasses – the threat of overpopulation makes a better future seem bleaker by the year.

Mira (Mirabella) Foster and her parents are citizens of New America, and with the threat of starvation and disease looming on the horizon, a new discovery threatens to push everyone to the brink of chaos: blue markings develop on people’s skin. Markings that are distinctive of a humanoid alien race named Changers that secretly sought refuge on Earth years ago. Markings that allow them to camouflage their skin, but also make them feared, and eventually, targets of violence.

Mira’s dad is one of them.

Anger can make you a spectacle…

Banished to a treacherous, uninhabited island, a newly orphaned Mira and her kind struggle to survive and settle into a new way of life. Her main priority becomes seeing to Jackson’s care, her friend with Muscular Dystrophy, and tending to her garden as a way of distracting herself from the pain of losing everything she loved. But just as she’s adapting to this new life, their Elders approach her with a plan to insert themselves back into New America to uncover a conspiracy. A conspiracy, they believe, that includes the presidency and landed them on the island, costing many Changers their lives, including her parents’.

In a world where staying on the island means a possible untimely death, as does risking her life to uncover a horrible secret that might one day set them all free, which one will she choose? And if she chooses to help, can she tame her anger over their mistreatment long enough to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch? Because, after all, the last thing her kind needs is to make spectacles of themselves, and as she knows all too well, both anger and fear have a perilous knack for destruction.

BraydenPurchase:
All proceeds from pre-orders are going to a local kid named Brayden who has Muscular Dystrophy.
Brayden is a smart and witty twelve-year-old boy, who loves video games and sports of all kinds, especially football, but the only thing holding him back is that he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. He was diagnosed on April 1st, 2010 with the disease, which will one day (possibly sooner than later) put him in wheelchair fulltime. His mind is sharp as a tack, but his little body is giving out daily; the more tired he gets, the more frequent the falls. Luckily he hasn’t broken any bones (yet). He will one day need a tracheotomy to be able to breathe and speak, and his lungs and heart are muscles that will give out just as easy as his arms and legs. Most boys with this disease will not live into their 20’s, and the disease claims lives daily. To help Brayden in his journey with DMD, S.J. has pledged to donate all of her pre-order proceeds to Brayden’s family.

An Excerpt From Chapter Two:

Following the scent of cheese toast and eggs, I stop short when I see my mom standing in the kitchen doorway, her hands fidgeting with the frayed hem of her apron, a tight smile on her face. I don’t like the way she looks at me – worried and afraid and about to cry all at the same time. “Mirabella, dear,” she says, almost whimpers. “Daddy and I need to talk to you.”

Heat crawls over my skin, flushing my cheeks and leaving gooseflesh on my arms. Dread squeezes my lungs. “Okay,” I manage, but it takes me a minute to remember how to walk. Mom doesn’t move out of my way.

I notice the radio isn’t on again. Dad usually listens to it for his morning news.

She kneels to look me at me on my level, and I know now something really bad must have happened… or is happening. Yet again, the rings around the moon were right.

“Everything’s okay,” she lies, reading my worried expression, “But I want to warn you about your father before you see him.”

My eyebrows draw together. Warn me?

I hear dad shifting in his chair, and he grunts nervously. My chest clenches tighter. All I want is to see him. To know what’s going on. I can’t fathom what she would have to warn me about.

“His skin is… different than before.”

“Different?”

“Yes, baby,” she soothes. “And whatever you do, please don’t scream. You know how thin these walls are.”

I muster a nod.

“Okay,” she says, clasping my hand and straightening, “It’s time.”

She leads me into the kitchen, my heart racing, eyes snapping right to my father. He’s sitting with his face behind his hands, his elbows resting against the tabletop. The skin on his arms and hands look the same to me – smooth and the color of coffee with milk. Still normal. I breathe a sigh of relief.

“Is she looking?” he asks through his hands.

I answer for her. “Yes, daddy.”

He lets out a long slow breath – a brooding sigh.

“Show her, Grant,” mom pleads.

Moments pass. He sighs again and slowly moves his hands away. Behind them, blue marks, starting at the corners of his eyes, branch out in a rough, jagged pattern – like webs of blood vessels, but more defined – over his cheekbones and stopping along his jawline. Smaller patches curl around his temples. It almost looks like a butterfly, almost beautiful, like these odd markings are meant to be there. Like someone had painted them for fun. I would assume this is all a joke had my mom not been acting so weird.

I look up to her questioningly. Why would this have made me scream?

Her hand meets her chest, and I can tell she’s relieved I didn’t freak out, but not all the concern is gone from her eyes. At least she’s smiling normally now.

“So you aren’t afraid?” she asks.

“Why would I be?”

Her lips press tight. She throws a nervous glance at my father.

“Because these are permanent,” he says. “And they’ll get worse.”

SJAUTHOR BIO:
Susan James Pierce has a degree in Marketing Management, works for a Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, Georgia, and devotes her precious, spare time to writing Fantasy, Paranormal and Sci-fi novels.

Please visit www.sjpiercebooks.blogspot.com and sign up for her mailing list or subscribe to her blog if you’d like to hear when new books come out! Coming soon:

Iris (Novella: The Captivated Series) Available now!!!

Fight for Me (Book Two: The Captivated Series)

Links:
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~Sage<3
{Excerpt provided by Xpresso Book Tours}

REVIEW: The Hybrid by Venus Morales

*I received a free ebook version of this book from XpressoBookTours in exchange for an honest review.

CoverHybrid
Title: The Hybrid
Author: Venus Morales
Series: (The Hybrid Series #1)
Publication date: February 9th 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
 →
 Goodreads || Amazon || B&N
Format: Ebook
3/5

Synopsis:

Ari is the Hybrid daughter to Ares, the god of war, who was raised in secrecy, until her 18th birthday when she decides to venture out into the mortal realm.
Julius, an archangel, appears to Ari with a prophesied message from the seer, that Ari wants no part of. From the moment they met Julius stirred something dark and dangerous within Ari, awakening her inner dark essence to it’s new found abilities.Alaris, the prince of the underworld. He is determined to have Ari. Slowly luring her into his web, away from Julius. Ari knows he is dangerous, and is hypnotized by him, but still refuses to run the other way. Conflicted by her emotions for two men, as her inner dark essence continues to torment her, slowly pushing her to the dark side. Ari is forced to do the one thing she has been avoiding to do, take mother’s coven and regain her crown.

Little does Ari know she is fighting for more than her crown, she is fighting for her life. She has seven days to prepare for her trials, seven days to fight for her life. As her inner dark essence tries to consume her and an unknown enemy is trying to kill her.

Ari doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t know who she can trust, when she can’t even trust herself.

      The Hybrid is full of demons, arch angels, gods and goddesses, and vampires. It’s all supernatural, love, growth, and bravery. It’s about Ari fighting her Darkness only for both sides of her to come together and fall in love.
What I Like:
-I like how Ares and Hera were actually involved in the story, not just mentioned. Especially Hera and Ily’s friendship; it’s light and fun and I enjoyed the fact that they bond over fashion.
-There were some pretty great characters; Vera, Ily, Ares, Hera, and Julius. Vera was supportive and a great person to have on Ari’s side; Ily, Ares, and Hera protective; Julius strong, confident, protective and loving.
-It was a pretty interesting plot line, with Arch Angels, Vampires, Gods and Demons. The action was pretty good too, considering all the different powers and all.
-The flow of the writing was consistent and despite the problems I had, I just had to keep reading.
What I Don’t Like:
  • Info dump right at the beginning. We were told practically right away that Ari was a Phoenacian Princess (which means she’s part vampire), and daughter to Ares, the God of war; Ily a Vampire Queen, and Julius an Arch Angel. I can see how it would work for the story, but at the same time I feel the story would’ve flowed better if we hadn’t been told right away.
  • Alaris is immediately described as a dangerous bad boy in Ari’s mind. I mean, he’s the Dark Prince, so obviously he isn’t the nicest person around, but to be a bad boy? Alaris, to me, seems like he should be more serious and brooding, considering he is the Dark Prince. I mean, who wants a petulant, bratty young man to be your ruler?
    • ‘At least the other two died with honor, more than I can say for you! You were given one task, to bring back the mortal girls… And you let them escape, you incompetent moron!’ [I don’t have a physical copy so I can’t give you the page number, I’m sorry. But it’s within the first chapter]
    • Also, when Ari comes back from the coven, he loses it and it seems too… I don’t know. I just can’t imagine anyone acting that way so suddenly when he barely knew Ari and had no reason to feel such. And, and, just from the synopsis you’d imagine Alaris is around a lot, but he really isn’t. That saddened me, but didn’t at the same time. I was sad because I felt like if he was around more, his character would be more explained and his actions more called for; and then I was glad he wasn’t there that much because the love triangle really wasn’t much of a love triangle.
  • Which brings me to this. Just from the synopsis you know there’ll be a love triangle. But not only is there a love triangle, but there’s also instant love
    • ‘I watched him intently, knowing nothing about him, except that he was the dark prince everyone whispered about. I wanted to know more than just those whispers and rumors. Why was I just standing here mesmerized by him?’ [It’s about Alaris. It’s also within the first chapter]
    • ‘He raked me with his eyes as if he were undressing me with his eyes.’ [It’s also within the first chapter and about Alaris]
    • ‘My heart quickened at the sight of him as my stomach fluttered with butterflies. He smelled like sunshine and rain mixed together.’ [This one’s about Julius and is withing the second chapter]
  • As shown in that second last quote, there were also some lines that I felt could’ve been worded better. It just felt a little awkward and I had to read them over again to make sure I actually read it right. Especially in the beginning, because every time Demons was written, it was written like Deamonons, and I have no idea if that was intentional or not.
      Overall, I liked it, but it wasn’t really for me. I suggest you give it a go though, if it sounds interesting enough for you.
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Ah, I’m sorry for the bad review and if I offend anyone who has read The Hybrid and loved it.
~Sage<3

BLOG TOUR/REVIEW: An Absence of Light by Meradeth Houston

 *I’m posting this as part of the XpressoBookTours An Absence of Light Blog Tour. I recieved a free ebook copy of this in order to do so.AnAbsenseOfLightTourBanner
AbsenceOfLight~
Title: An Absence of Light
Author: Meradeth Houston
Published by: Evernight Teen
Publication date: October 31st 2014
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction, Young Adult
 Goodreads || Amazon || B&N

Synopsis:

Leah’s always seen the shadow creatures. She thought she was immune to their evil—until now.

She’s walked into a massacre, stolen a BMW, and is running from the law for a crime she didn’t commit. Nineteen-year-old Leah’s life just went from mildly abnormal to totally crazy at lightning speed. But no one will believe that the shadow creatures are framing her for the murder, because she’s the only one that can see them. At least that’s what she thought.

When Leah stumbled across a group who share her ability, she discovers they have something she doesn’t: a way to fight back. When the group offers to teach her how to kill the shadow creatures, Leah jumps at the chance. But something is brewing with the creatures. They’re tracking down the hunters like there’s no tomorrow. Leah suspects that maybe there won’t be, and it’s up to her to make sure tomorrow comes. Because she’ll do anything to stop the shadows, including risking her life—and the life of the one she loves—to keep the world from being lost to darkness forever.


And now, on to my review!
Format: Ebook
4/5 stars
      An Absence of Light is a book full of action, growth, bravery, romance, and perhaps even horror. I honestly didn’t find it scary, however if I were to deal with something like that in real life, then yeah, I’d be pretty terrified. We follow Leah in the beginning after the tragic death of her family, and then she runs away and stumbles upon a man who can also see the shadows. It all begins unraveling from there, learning more of her special abilities, of the shadows, and of how to possibly solve the problems the shadows’ mere presence create. In the midst, there’s romance, action, and a whole lot of twists.
What I Liked:
  • The writing. It was easy to follow and get immersed in the story line. I had only planned on reading a chapter, maybe two, and then I ended up finishing it so… That speaks for itself. d: But it also flowed well, and the interactions between the characters were often slightly amusing. Though sometimes it felt a little too unrealistic.
  • The abilities of the shadows. I enjoyed the twists and the new information Adam, Manuel, and Lee kept discovering. Some felt a little like they were thrown in, but nevertheless the twists kept me on my toes and I was surprised more then once. I especially love the way the shadows are explained. Their description just makes you imagine this creepy, slimy, black thing with no particular shape that can easily blend in and mess with you. It’s a little scary, right?
  • The characters. I enjoyed how they each portray their own way of protection, how they all seem to bond so well. They are each strong and determined, having lost so much to the shadows. I was rooting for them throughout the book and with each moment they felt hopeless I felt even more hope that they’d get through it. I loved the emotions because of that.
  • I like how not all of the shadows are bad. I won’t go into further detail though, as this is already partially a spoiler (sorry).
 →
What I Didn’t Like:
  • The ending (I won’t go into further details because of spoilers) seemed far too quick. Possibly rushed. My heart wanted to break, but with how quickly it happened, I didn’t really feel anything…
  • The specific relationship that is formed happened so suddenly. I get that they’re afraid that they’ll die and so they want to make sure they know how they feel, but to just climb into bed and be all touchy-feely after so long of going back and forth between friends and enemies? I feel like we should get more of them slowly leading up to that point, because before that we pretty much only have protective instincts and seemingly not any real emotion.
  • Adam’s sister’s condition, how she got like that, isn’t explained and I feel like it should be further explored. Perhaps then we could feel a deeper terror and be able to immerse ourselves deeper in the story?
  • Considering Amy had been possessed for so long, you’d think they would have noticed others as well. But instead, they all show up once they realize what Amy is. That, well, it just makes it seem as if it was thrown in there as a second thought. I think we should’ve seen more like Amy beforehand, and then when they realize what she is they can piece it together based on what they saw before, instead of there suddenly being groups of them after Amy is discovered.

Overall, I enjoyed reading An Absence of Light and I would recommend it for you fans of horror, sci-fi, and romance. Oh, and action!


MeradethHoustonAUTHOR BIO:

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:

-She’s a Northern California girl. And now is braving the cold winters in Montana.
-When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
-She’s also an anthropology professor and loves getting people interested in studying humans.
-If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

Author links:

THE TOUR STOPS:

June 8th
The Bookish Angel
Girls With Books
Abby J Reed
Lindea on Books & Writing
I Feel the Need, the Need to Read

June 9th
Twisted Book Junkie
Captain Swan Bookishhh
Lisa Loves Literature
Jeni’s Bookshelf, Reviews, Swag, & More!
The Best Books Ever

June 10th
Nerd Girl Files
Dreams Come True Through Reading
Swords and Stilettos
We Do Write
A Thousand Words A Million Books

June 11th
Adventures in Bookland
Mia in Narnia
Mom With A Kindle
Reader Girls
Us Girls & A Book
Word to Dreams

June 12th
Movies, Shows & Books
Stephanie Faris
Beauty Brite
Author Tracker: YA and Adult Books
The MissPhyre Library
Coffee & All Things Random [me]
Books Can Take You There

June 13th
Head in the Clouds, Heart in the Books
My Bookshelf is yours !
A British Bookworm’s Blog
Livre It To Me
Weezled

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~Sage<3