#BookReview A Taxing Affair by Michelle Cornish

A Taxing Affair by Michelle Cornish is an excellent thrill ride with… yes… Accountants.

This may bet the fourth book in the series, but you don’t necessarily need to read the first three to get it. I read this book and felt like I got most of it right up front. Will I be wanting to grab the rest of the series? Absolutely! But that’s because Michelle Cornish’s writing is easy and makes the story flow just right.

Cynthia Webber is a forensic accountant, and man is she good at her job! She’s had quite the feats in her career so far, but nothing is quite as interesting as this time around. She’s helping out her ex Drew Nolan (a divorce lawyer) with one of his recent clients. This super rich man is divorcing his wife to run off into the sunset with new boo. The trouble? He’s got cash for days and has his hands in company affairs. So, of course, everyone wants his dough. When he’s suddenly murdered, Cynthia is framed.

Cynthia works alongside Detective Warren Scott to try to solve this murder. Did I mention they may or may not have feelings for each other? The chemistry and heat is ON.

This book is such a thrill ride! My initial thought of a forensic accountant getting her own book made me grin, and then it just got even better! You’ve got thrills, hints of romantic chemistry, and some absolutely terrifying moments in this book. Plus, lots of mystery that keeps twisting and turning on every page. I really enjoyed this book and found myself glued to it, like many thriller books lately. This book is something I highly recommend to readers who love thrillers and mystery. It’s relatively short, so it’s a nice binge read.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. I can’t say enough how much I love it. I’ll definitely be checking out the rest of the series when I get the chance. Michelle Cornish is a marvellous writer. Give her some love guys!

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Michelle Cornish, in exchange of an honest review.

Want to check out this book? Well here are some handy, dandy links to get you started on your quest:
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Books2Read – All Purchasing Locations in One!

Check out Michelle Cornish and her catalogue by clicking on the links below:
Goodreads Author Page
Twitter: @Chellevester
https://www.michellecornishauthor.com/

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#BookReview You Say Goodbye by Keith Steinbaum

I LOVE thrillers. A good book that I can sink into that has a mystery for me to unravel is just what gets my boat floating these days (aside from romance, but those are a very different genre).

You Say Goodbye is about a serial killer who leaves behind notes with Beatles lyrics. The title had already gotten my brain singing some epic Beatles tunes, but the premise just sounded way too cool for me to turn down. Beatles songs were my childhood, so the little smile of singing Hello Goodbye in my head was sweet.

Let’s start out by saying the acknowledgement to Alexandra Scot wanted to make me weep. Google her. Look her up. Hear her story and make a difference. My poor heart couldn’t take it. So kind, so sweet. Thank you for reminding me of her story Mr. Steinbaum. I had forgotten about it, but being reminded of it was such a lovely moment.

Now, off to the races… We start out with a magic trick away. It’s engaging, fun and makes the reader think we’re in for maybe a light hearted story. Until it takes a creepy and cruel twist… The story starts hard and fast to get you into the narrative. Melissa is murdered by a man who isn’t who he appears to be. He’s done this before, and each time he leaves behind lyrics from Beatles songs. It’s an interesting calling card, and it’s one that everybody has heard of at this point.

Merissa’s murder ruins Sean. Him and Merissa were dating, and Sean hasn’t had the best of times lately. He’s a bit of a wash up musician. The lad did have some amazing songs back in the day, but lately everyone just wants him to play his classics instead of his new tunes. It’s degrading and doesn’t help his mental health… And then this comes along. The “has been” faces the love of his life dying, some health scares yet meets a young girl who just wants to learn how to play some music. She’s a wee bit sickly, which takes to Sean’s heart. He finds a small purpose, alongside wanting to find Merissa’s murderer.

Alex’s Lemonade stand made me smile, alongside the millennial references of Hannah Montana and Cheetah Girls. It felt like my childhood was being thrown into this book and that it was made for me. It was honestly a nice breather from the very current references I’ve seen in other books.

But, we strayed away from the plot. Kayleigh is Sean’s new friend, and along the way we meet many more. Maybe Sean’s shady co-workers killed Merissa. Or was it Kayleigh’s Aunt’s new fling? A random stranger? Why are there so many suspicious people? Why can’t people just calm down and live their lives instead of being shady and appearing like murder suspects.

Kayleigh helps Sean come out of his depression, slowly but surely. And eventually we find out who killed Merissa…

I liked this book! It was fun and addictive. The pace was fast, the thrills are insane and there’s some heartfelt moments that will make you smile. There’s gotta be some positive in these harsh stories.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free from the author, Keith Steinbaum, in exchange of an honest review.

You can find out more about this book on:
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Check out Keith Steinbaum by clicking the links below:
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Twitter: @keithsteinbaum
http://www.keithsteinbaum.com/

This book is one of my recent favourites. Want to see some other five star, incredible books? Check out these killer books on my blog:
Jauna and the Dragonewsts Seven Kingdoms by Kiyohisa Tanaka
#BookReview A Reluctant Attraction by Rosanna Leo

Up the Creek by Kevin Miller

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#BookReview In The Dark by Cara Hunter

I discovered Cara Hunter years ago through Goodreads and ever since I’ve been on the hunt for her novels. I accidentally came across one of them in a local store. They normally don’t even sell books! But there was In The Dark perched on top of a little display. I grabbed it, speed walked as fast as I could and bought this book. It sat on my shelf as I admired it, and finally got the nerve to picked it up. The wait was DEFINITELY worth it. All caps, bold, italicize – let’s make this clear. In The Dark by Cara Hunter is a delightfully addicting thriller for mystery fans.

Cara Hunter has a special voice when it comes to thrillers. There are no chapters – the story just keeps moving. There’s constant movement, a fast pace and twists and turns all over. Suspects are introduced and hinted at along the way. Reader sleuths will have fun trying to nail down who did what with who throughout this book. Who kidnapped the girl and her child? Who killed another person? Was there an affair? Is the older man crazy or does he actually have dementia? Why are all of these people so suspicious?!

A young woman and her child are found in a basement. This is shocking and sudden, but links to deaths of women in the past. Everyone wonders if this is the missing woman that was presumably kidnapped years ago… But what if she’s not? The story unwinds to bring us many suspects who have likely cause for this behaviour. Abusive marriages, desperate affairs, greedy relatives after wills and deceit will bring forth the suspect… But with so many suspects, is it only one person? Or is all of this nonsense connected?

DI Adam Fawley’s books are super intriguing. They glue me to every page and it’s really hard not to binge the entire book. I couldn’t get enough of the thrills, twists and turns Cara puts into this book. I highly recommend this series to anyone who loves mysteries and thrillers. The character development is also on point. I loved how Cara painted these pictures of how everyone is not perfect and how we need to think about all of the information we’ve been given. It felt like I was a detective alongside Adam Fawley and his crew. It’s an absolute delight for thriller fans like myself.

Overall, this is yet another winning book! I highly recommend it and will continue to support Cara Hunter. Who doesn’t love sneaking away into an amazingly written book?

Five out of five stars.

Want to join in the thrill ride? Grab this book now:
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Check out Cara’s socials by clicking on the links below:
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Twitter: @CaraHunterBooks

Looking for more thrilling reads to fill up your TBR? Check out some of my other faves featured on my blog:
Close to Home by Cara Hunter
Spiral by Khaled Talib
Wrong Place by Michelle Davies

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#BookReview Dark Bliss by Shay Mills

Dark Bliss: Love Knows No Bounds by Shay Mills is a historical, fantasy read full of vampires.

This is a relatively short read packed with lots of content! Vampires, fantasy, history and romance are packed tight all within this book. I was honestly shocked how short it was for how much drama and content there is (which isn’t a bad thing! Sometimes a girl wants a short book with lots going on).

I did find that this book wasn’t aimed at me for it’s audience, but I can appreciate the novel for what it is. Fans of historical romance with a splash of fantasy and horror will enjoy this book.

You might be asking, “So, Briar… Why wasn’t this book for you?” Well, let me explain.

This book started with a strong opening paragraph that had me feeling some incredible horror vibes. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it didn’t seem like it was going to be a romance or purely fantasy novel. That horror element quickly dissipates and unfolds into a period drama. I really wanted that horror element to stick – I thought it was going to be a really cool vibe mixed in with the fantasy and romance. There is the odd splash of horror later on, but it’s not as big of an element as I thought it would be (since it was in that initial opening).

So we keep going – we’ve got lots of characters coming out of the woodworks fast, and some of them only in flashbacks. I wanted a little more description out of these moments. I found this book was heavy in dialogue and not in description. Don’t get me wrong (again), I love some incredible dialogue but I also need a writer to spell out how the setting looks and feels, how the characters are, and so on. Just a pinch more description would have made me a happy reader, but this trend continues throughout the book. That being said, the style is interesting. This book makes it feel like someone is re-telling the story to a friend. It’s how I imagine my buddies telling me about their works of fiction that they write.

The characters were an interesting collection of people. Some you can relate to, some you want to throw off a cliff, and others you wonder if they might have a bigger meaning to the story than they actually do. Alma was a character I loved to hate. I did wonder if she was going to be more of a “big baddie” than she was… But she was pretty insane.

My biggest gripe with this book is the romance. The sex happens ridiculous amounts of times, the orgasms seem unrealistic for how many and how often, and the descriptions of sex felt like a man was writing it. Now, don’t get me wrong again – men can write romance and sex scenes – but sometimes you can tell it’s a man trying to write for a woman. Vibrating junk, orgasms that happen excessive times in a row that would probably kill the woman and just unrealistic sex scenes make me grimace. I like disappearing into a book, but really odd sex scenes tear me out of it.

Add in a few trigger warnings for this book: Abuse towards women, abuse towards pregnant women, miscarriage. All those fun things some readers don’t like – be warned.

Overall, this book is an interesting read. It’s nice to take a trip down a different path in my reading journey. It’s a historical book that takes place in the dark time of slaves with lots of twists and turns.

Three out of five stars.

This book was sent to me in exchange of an honest review.

Give this book a look see by following the links below:
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Learn more about the author, Shay Mills, through these websites:
https://www.shaymillsauthor.com/
Goodreads Author Page – Shay Mills

Check out some other books on my blog that you might enjoy:
Nothing is Strange by Mike Russell
His Name was Zach by Peter Matruneac
Spiral by Khaled Talib

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#BookReview Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

If you want your mind completely blown away then grab this book!

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family has been sitting on my shelf for probably too long. I’ve looked at it, thought about reading it, and then just decided otherwise. I wanted more fiction in my life! Or so I thought. This non-fiction book is as enticing and intriguing as a lot of the fiction books I’ve been picking up (if not more). Honestly, this book will open your eyes to a world you probably never thought much of. What happens to families where multiple family members have schizophrenia? And what if that family was way back in the 1940s-1960s?

This story makes my heart ache. It’s not an easy story to hear but it’s an important one to tell. Not only is it important, it tells you a lot of history about mental health and mental illnesses. With mental health becoming further into the forefront and actually being taken seriously (well, some of the time… unfortunately), this is an important story to learn about and tell. Lindsay and Margaret and the rest of the gang deserve so much better. Hopefully their story will help change the course of history and help many families and their loved ones in the future.

We have a picture perfect family from the 1940s, right? Two loving parents and their twelve children (which sounds like a lot now, and was a bit of a lot back then… but it’s a big family). They all seem perfect and happy and it’s exactly what you want, right? The duo finally get two beautiful girls and all seems right in the world. Until their sons start unravelling… Six of their sons get diagnosed with mental health issues (schizophrenia, maybe bipolar or other issues as well – diagnosing mental illnesses wasn’t a perfect science back then). The family struggles with these issues. What are you supposed to do when your son dresses up like a monk and spouts out religious nonsense to the world and then tries beating everyone up? It’s not like there’s a rule book or a play book to help you with that sort of thing. Especially in a time when mental health was a topic we didn’t like to talk about.

Things weren’t easy (and that’s putting it lightly). The story goes into some brutal and harsh details about the Galvin family’s life and social circle. It will hurt your heart but it will also let you inside a very scary world. Especially one for young girls and children! Can you imagine how it would feel to feel like you’re losing your siblings? To have history covered up? The painful memories. My heart aches and I have so much empathy.

The one good take away? This family helped with a lot of research. Their blood samples and medical history has given the science world something to start and go off of when dealing with schizophrenia. It’s awful cases like these that can sometimes change the views of the world. Luckily, their story is helping shape the medical community.

This is a must read book. I honestly couldn’t believe how eye opening, how incredible and how strange this book was. It reads like a really well written fiction, and sometimes you get so lost in the story you forget it’s real. Pick this book up! It’s high on my recommendation list! Especially for lovers of non-fiction.

Five out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check this book out by clicking on the links below:
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Looking for more non-fiction to pack onto your TBR? Well, I have just what you need on my blog:
#BookReview Crime Scene by Kate Lines
#BookReview To Wendy’s With Love by Diane Keyes
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

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#BookReview High School by Tegan and Sara Quin

High School by Sara Quin and Tegan Quin is a wonderful biography all about the famous musicians’ high school years.

This was a book that really had me hooked despite being a genre I don’t jump into too often. I couldn’t believe how enchanting and engaging it was! The pictures, the events, the relatable nature… it was all just so good together. Sara and Tegan not only have a talent with telling their story through music, they have the writing bug too.

I’ve known about Tegan and Sara but have never been a “super fan”. I’ve listened to the odd song and known about some of the awards they’ve won. They are famous Canadians, so obviously as a Canadian myself I’ve heard of them. This book has made me realize I want to listen to their music a lot more. They are relatable, inspirational and motivational – and they were once just normal girls living their best lives. It’s a relatable and down to earth story about some of the insanity of high school years.

To top it all off, they are LGTBQ+ advocates. They are apart of the community and do a lot of good work for it. They are inspirational figures and have a magical way with their words. Their struggles and journey are really something worth reading about. The high school angst, drugs, the changes and discovery in their sexuality, the changing family dynamics and the beginnings in the music industry are something really cool to read about! It felt like these guys could literally be my next door neighbours or be my buddies. There’s also some comedic moments, amazing lines and crazy goofs that make this book transcend to another level of awesome. The on the spot excuses for what they were doing instead of taking drugs or having a little too much fun with their significant others had me chuckling.

Overall, this book was a lovely journey and a great read. I highly recommend it for fans of Tegan and Sara or people just seeking an interesting biography.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

You can find this book on a variety of websites:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Indigo
Kobo
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Check out Tegan and Sara by clicking the links below:
http://teganandsara.com/
Twitter: @teganandsara

If you’re looking for more non-fiction books and biographies, you might enjoy some of these great books that have been featured on my blog:
#BookReview Breakfast at Bronzefield by Sophie Campbell
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
#BookReview The Boy on the Beach by Tima Kurdi

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#BookReview Winds of Darkness by Rebecca L. Snowe

Winds of Darkness by Rebecca L. Snowe opened my eyes to the wonderful world of fantasy novels.

I normally despise fantasy novels. I have a slew of reasons why they don’t normally vibe with me, yet this book proved to me that maybe it’s just the book and not the genre. Why? Because this book was incredible, kept me hooked and wasn’t confusing.

Seriously, this book made me love fantasy! This kind of book makes me realize why people love digging into these books. There are so many characters, so much world building and yet it didn’t feel like it was all that long. This book is over 600 pages but you wouldn’t know it! Rebecca L. Snowe has a real talent and I hope she continues using it with the sequel to this book (because it left on a massive cliffhanger and MAN do I hate cliffhangers).

Rebecca also does an excellent job with making me enjoy most of the characters. There are always going to be characters you don’t like, but having them all weave together somehow in the story was truly fun and interesting! I loved the Queen (Azkanysh) and the plot line there. The cliffhanger it left for her… Ooh, I need the next book as soon as possible! Rebecca is so mean leaving us hanging there! I also enjoyed Dark Moon and Nathaira. I didn’t expect so many worlds to collide so quickly, but I loved every second of it!

Shapeshifters, Queens taking the thrones over the males (when women aren’t respected), a headstrong Princess trying to make a name for herself, an assassin and more are all apart of this truly mesmerizing book. I highly recommend it if you love fantasy or are just starting out! This is what I hoped Game of Thrones would have been. So, yeah, by my standards this is better than Game of Thrones. With a great, fast paced environment with lots of descriptions and character development, this book is a winner!

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check out this book on:
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Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

Find out urgent updates about Rebecca L. Snowe on:
Goodreads
https://rebeccalsnowe.com/about/
Twitter: @RebeccaLSnowe

Do you love fantasy? Here are some other books featured on my blog that you might enjoy:
#BookReview Fallen: Princeborn Stolen by Jean Lee
#BookReview Valyo Rising by R.A. Mendsen
#BookReview Avalon Hall by Ruth Miranda

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#BookReview Eat Cake. Be Brave. by Melissa Radke

Eat Cake. Be Brave. by Melissa Radke is a delightful read that will make you giggling and smile all along the way.

Seriously, I liked this book! It was sugary sweet, delightfully fun and just all around great. I had not heard of Melissa Radke before, but I did want to sink my teeth into some comedic biographies. This woman is just the kind of girl I want to read about! She’s funny, she is real and has an interesting story to read about. I gotta say, she’s right. I love her now! She seems like the kind of woman I’d want to be friends with.

This woman wrote a fantastic book that is all about dealing with life, insecurities, following your dreams and being comedic while doing it. She hasn’t had the easiest life – things have gone wrong, and that’s totally okay. But she came out on the other side of it, and managed to make light of it! She adopted two children, she’s made a book, she has a great marriage and is doing her best and living her life. I dig it. I like books like this that feel real but still teach you something.

My negative for this book: There’s some more stuff I wanted to read. Melissa will bring up stuff (her marriage wasn’t amazing for some of it… but why?) and then never discuss it. If you’re gonna bring up the dirty laundry, you kinda gotta air it. Maybe not in excessive detail, but I was actually curious how they overcame the bad hump in their relationship. How?! Why?! Give me advice girl, because you seem to have a good head on your shoulders and you write it well.

Overall, this book is a great comedic biography to pick up if you’re seeking something lighter to read.

Four out of five stars.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Check out this book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
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If you loved this book, you might enjoy some of these other books as well:
#BookReview You’re Doing Great! by Tom Papa
#BookReview Tiny House, Big Love by Olivia Dade
#BookReview Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto
#BookReview The Fencers by Geza Tetrallyay

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#BookReview Unmuted: Stories of Courage and Resilience from the GenPRIDE Community by Steven Knipp et al.

If you’re looking for a book that will stir your emotions but also remind you that you’re not alone, this is it!

Unmuted: Stories of Courage and Resilience from the GenPRIDE Community is a delightful book with many short stories within its pages.

Background: GenPRIDE is a nonprofit I had not heard of before I picked up this book. It sounds like it’s doing fantastic work by focusing on helping the lives of midlife and older LGBTQIA+ people. And, fun fact, individuals from this group wrote this book! So that’s pretty darn cool, if you ask me. This book helped build a community and I am absolutely honoured to be able to pick this book up!

This book starts out with a breathtaking and beautiful dedication to Kevin Charles Patz. He was not only a writer in this book, but a good friend of the other writers. The dedication was heartwarming and made me smile. I’m sad to hear that Kevin has passed, but I’m glad he lived so fondly in others hearts.

The feelings this book gives is just insane. You’ve felt what these authors have felt, you’ve just maybe not known how to express them. The anxiety of people, the feeling of pure loneliness – having someone write those out and see that I’m not alone was an amazing coping mechanism for myself. Especially in these wild times – quarantine and pandemic – knowing that I’m not the only one feeling these crazy feelings is nice and soothing. You hate seeing other people having these feelings, but at least you know you’re not alone.

The heartbreak of Do Young’s Ghost hit home a little too hard. The pain of learning someone you love is dying from a source that isn’t kind… It hurts. My heart goes out to Greg. We can sit in the same boat together.

Hiding yourself from others or hating what you have to hide – Jenny, you give me strength and hope that I can be who I strive to be.

Loss from Steven Knipp, Hope’s story of birthdays, Shayla’s story of addiction and Linda’s purely incredible comment – “Why don’t people use non-gendered pronouns when they have doubts” is an age old question for me. Funny story, I used to teach classes and couldn’t always tell what names matched genders. Oftentimes, I would call the kids “Dude” as a non-gendered term as I was learning what names/nicknames they liked being called and what pronouns they went by. Dude was always an incredible non-gendered term in the world of children. That sentence reminded me of the amazing times I had back then, what a nostalgia trip that was!

Overall, this is a beautiful set of stories. I hope this group writers more and I’m able to pick up all of their books. This is a mesmerizing, must read on my list!

My summary sentence for the whole book: It amazes me how writing can soothe the soul and bring people together.

Five out of five stars!

I received this book for free from the editor, Jennifer Haupt, in exchange of an honest review.

You can find this book by clicking on the following links:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com
Kobo

Looking for more non-fiction and feeling-full reads to spice up your life? Check out some of my other faves that have been featured on my blog:
#BookReview Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19 by Jennifer Haupt et al
#BookReview Produce Poetry or Die by Narada Voux Sanders
#BookReview Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

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#BookReview Wedding Peach by Nao Yazawa

Wedding Peach by Nao Yazawa is a unique, little manga that gave me major Sailor Moon vibes!

Growing up, I loved Sailor Moon, Winx Club, Magical Melodies and all of those other girl power stories. So, it was only natural I’d move towards this book.

If you cross bred Sailor Moon with weddings, I’m convinced you’d get this book! In this little, lovely manga, you’ll find a story packed full of girl power, pretty dresses and love!

For me, this isn’t the best manga I’ve ever read. It’s pretty beat for beat what I’ve read in other girl power manga stories – girls with powers, romantic love interests, friendship, bad guy fighting, etc. Peach learns about her powers, suddenly is a super awesome fighter and starts taking care of the world of love! The boy she likes is a jerk, but man is he handsome! This is definitely a YA manga!

Despite these little tropes, I still think it’s very fun and a nice read to get your mind away from the world. As long as you understand this is almost like a B-rated version of Sailor Moon, you’ll enjoy it.

If you love manga and girl power, I’d highly recommend this book. I think it’s just too cute to pass up. I love a great manga that is fun, fluffy and easy to enjoy. I could have easily binged it, but I decided to take my time. it’s pretty rare for me to pick up a manga so I wanted to make it count!

Three out of five stars!

 

Check out this fantabulous book on:
Goodreads
Amazon.ca
Amazon.com

 

If you love fun and fantasy, here’s some other books you may enjoy:
#BookReview Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey
#BookReview Loki’s Wolves by K.A. Armstrong and M.A. Marr
#BookReview Seizure by Kathy Reichs

 

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