#BookReview So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch

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So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch is a sweet, simple, romance read.

There WILL be spoilers in this review, so beware!

Romance seems to be a hit and miss genre – there are FANTASTIC novels, and there are HORRIBLE novels. So Near the Horizon, on the spectrum, is just below fantastic. This story starts out as if it’s fiction – you don’t realize it’s based on Jessica’s life (I mean…her name and the character’s name are the same, but I honestly didn’t even notice. See how much I pay attention?).

Almost immediately our main characters meet, and the sass is real. I love the sassiness between Jessica and Danny,The abuse that was mentioned in the first few pages also left me kind of awestruck. You just meet someone and you say how your father hit you in the face with a bottle? Okay then… At least Danny’s honest?…

Our two leads, Jessica and Danny, are both pretty messed up. One minute they seem to be all over each other, and then next Danny’s treating Jessica like she’s garbage. You welcome her into your bed and sleep next to her all snuggled up, but then threaten to kick her out of your vehicle when you take her home? The bi-polar attitude of Danny made me not like him as a character and almost despise him. Jessica deserves better than some guy who flips his attitude whenever he feels like it. No matter his personal issues, he doesn’t need to act so nasty all the time. It’s almost like he’s nice only when it benefits him. And sending a radio after to apologize? And then confessing his love to her? On top of that, he’s almost always lying…. Yeah, this guy doesn’t sit well with me, in the beginning.

Even Christina rubs me the wrong way at the start – she’s got her own problems, but she’s a psychopath. She threatens to kill Jessica numerous times and no one even cares. The fact that she is threatening Jessica with death if she hurts Danny is absolutely, freaking, ridiculous. Christina has her issues, and she’s a broken character, but this running theme of having a bad life and being a total jerk to people makes me quite annoyed. Life can’t be all “sunshine and roses” (just like Christina says) but I feel like you can do better than hurting people since you’re hurting…Or maybe that’s just me.

I also find that there’s some repeated harassment that could have been avoided if reported. Out of everything in this novel, that drove me insane. Not that reporting always helps in real life situations…

I’m positive that my initial bad feelings towards this book are due to the whole Fifty Shades of Grey/Twilight controversy. There’s lots of books where the guys are just not great guys, but somehow win the girl in the end. Danny could be an EPIC character, but his flaws just seem so dark. It’s almost abusive in my eyes (and this is coming from someone who’s been through abusive relationships). Don’t get me wrong – Jessica is absolutely FANTASTIC and writes this novel well, I just don’t like the relationship. That’s nothing against her, because she makes it likable (to a degree). But then, you get to the end of the book and realize Danny’s not JUST a character. He was real, he’s a person, that was his real life attitude and actions (maybe not 100% because it’s a retelling of Jessica’s life with him, but you get the drift). People aren’t perfect, not like book characters. I went through this book hitting my head against the wall going “JESSICA, LEAVE THIS GUY! HE’S A JERK! HE’S NO GOOD FOR YOU” and then you find out his troubles, and you find out he’s REAL. This was a real guy who was dealing with real issues, and I felt for him. I was not myself when my Father died, nor when I dealt with horrible relationships in my life. I’m empathetic, because we’re not all perfect Nora Robert’s characters (I wish, sometimes that would make my job so much easier).

So, let’s get to the positives. I wrote up an entire list of negatives when I thought this book was fiction (do your research, don’t be like me who just jumps into a book). But, I threw them all out. When I realize this was real, why would I include negatives that don’t fit this narrative?

1. Sass – there is so much sass and humour, that I couldn’t put it down. There were the parts I was frustrated with, but I wanted to see the quirky conversations that were happening throughout this book.
2. It’s not cookie cutter – so many novels (fiction and non fiction) seem to fit the typical trope. Falling in love, happy life, everything is great, something goes wrong but it’s fixed, blah blah blah. This book shows what real life CAN Be like – it’s not totally “realistic” (these “characters” meet and get pretty flirty and close super fast, which isn’t always “realistic” for some people – but that’s life for you), it shows some of the darker sides of life, and I love it.
3. Character development – These characters develop over time, some a little slower than others. Seeing how life changes and what it did for these people…Oh man, my heart aches. I want to meet Jessica and give her a GIANT hug. To live through that changes a person…
4. HIV. That little fact flipped my opinion of this book quite a bit – I wasn’t expecting that to suddenly pop open. While it explains Danny’s behaviour, it doesn’t make some of his wild, horrible attitudes right. Yes, he has a HORRIBLE childhood, but does that give you the right to be a horrible person? What a conundrum.
5. The AIDS/HIV awareness – I like when books bring something into the spotlight, and this book did that with AIDS/HIV. The fact that it’s so heavily focused and doesn’t make it to be some sob story, but a real life story is honestly a wonderful change.

I had so hoped this story was fiction. It destroyed me – after losing my Dad to cancer I have become this emotional wreck that cries at everything sad or sentimental. AND JESSICA DESTROYED ME. Having a love so passionate, so deep (no matter what type of love) and losing someone…I’m hurting from this story. It’s so horrible but so beautiful…Thank you for this book Jessica. Honestly, thank you for letting me see a little piece of your life.

Overall, as a story it seems super rushed. If it were fiction, I’d be annoyed at the fast paced antics that goes on in a relationship. But is any relationship “normal”? Romance novels has ruined timelines for us, hasn’t it?

Five out of five stars. Yes, the relationship between Jessica and Danny was quite brutal, and the death threats infuriated me, but stories like THIS (real, honest and that bring something to the light like AIDS/HIV) NEED to be shared. Not want, NEED. We need more stories like this around, because this world’s big and scary, but stories like this show the true humanity. Oh boy, I’m just a mess writing this.

Thank you Jessica Koch, the amazing author, who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly appreciate it! It’s always mind blowing when people actually seek me out, and it really humbles me. Thank you!!!

 

Did you enjoy this review? Check out Jessica Koch on Goodreads! Jessica Koch on Goodreads

Did you know this book was originally written in German and was translated into English?

Check out Jessica Koch’s website! Jessica Koch’s Website

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#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

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In Her Court by Tamsen Parker is a goofy, geeky read filled with

Tamsen Parker is not one to stick to the same plot over and over in every read, and that’s what makes this book so unique compared to the others. This time around, Tamsen has explored an F/F relation (or two females if you didn’t understand the acronym). Two girls at a camp fulfill a beautiful romance, in short.

These girls (Van and Willa) have character – one of them is getting a PhD, they are working at a tennis camp, and they aren’t your typical character without flaws and full of perfection. They seem realistic in the setting of this story! That’s a nice change from some of the F/F books I have read in the past – I like seeing characters who slowly build and get better throughout the story.

There is some R-rated language (a few F bombs) so if you don’t like any swears, beware! They aren’t dropped for no reason, they fit within the story, but know this book isn’t G rated. If you thought it was, you don’t know Tamsen’s writing very well…

Personal opinion: I felt like Nate and his character could have not been in the story and it would have moved just as well. Yes, he’s an introduction for both characters, but he didn’t seem wildly important – at least not to me. I would have liked to see a more interesting story line with him (a non romantic subplot, or something). I felt like there was more potential hiding in there. That being said, it wasn’t like he was supposed to be the main character of the story.

This wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (and by that I mean her super steamy romances), but it definitely ranks up in my favourite romances. I felt the introduction to the characters wasn’t the best (we found out a bit to much to fast, in my opinion) but it was still fitting and made the story work. That’s me being a picky Tamsen Parker/romance fan and nothing more. It doesn’t hurt the story, I just feel like it wasn’t Tamsen’s best out of all of her books (I remember a time when she only had three books out…just saying..now she’s all busy writing and forming a career ;D).

I found this was definitely a step out of Tamsen’s wild BDSM/crazy sexual books and more of a contemporary romance (as it says on Goodreads, which I noticed AFTER I read it – do your research first guys! Then you’ll know what you’re getting!). As a contemporary romance, it’s fantastic! It’s not the best romance in all of the world that I’ve ever read, but it’s a worthy read. A very worthy read indeed! There is still some steamy sexy scenes, just not as crazy wild as her other novels. But it’s still uber sexy and well written! And there is LOTS of it…Almost to much. At one point, there seems to be sex scenes in every single chapter!

Side Notes: I love geeky references and Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was present in this novel. Bonus points for Tamsen!

Overall, this book was great – it just wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (but can they all really be my favourite? Let’s be honest). This book is still a worthy read and I would suggest it to those looking for some steamy romances, but definitely pick up Tamsen’s other books while you’re at it. These books show how she can not only write crazy steamy BDSM, but lovely contemporary romances and some not so safe for work styled novels.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you Tamsen Parker for being amazing (as always!) and sending me a copy of this book!!

 

Visit Tamsen parker at www.tamsenparker.com !!
Follow her on Twitter: @TamsenParker or Facebook! www.facebook.com/tamsenparker

 

This book was also part of Camp Firefly Falls! I haven’t read it yet, but if you’re interested in more check out http//campfireflyfalls.com for more info!

 

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

 

#BookReview Once Upon a Vampire by Mari Mancusi

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To say I was a huge fan of the Blood Coven novels when I was younger would be an understatement. I remember going to high school sporting events and having to sit on a bus for hours to get to our location so we could compete – so of course I would brings books by authors such as Mari Mancusi, Zac Brewer, Ellen Schreiber, and other fantastic YA novelists. I was heartbroken when the series ended and I was hoping one day Mari might come back to it.

AND GUESS WHAT?! SHE DID!!

Once Upon a Vampire is more of an adult novel than YA (although, I’m sure YA fans could pick it up and not be totally disgusted with it. This book is a great continuation).

While it might not be a direct continuation with our former leads, this book environment wise is similar. Hannah and Logan follow a similar path to our former leading ladies and their respective fellows. Rayne is a big part of this story and Jareth also appears, but they aren’t our main leads – even if Rayne takes a bigger role than expected. Magnus is also referenced, but does not make an appearance.

I was definitely hooked to this book – my book cravings had been something easy to read, sexy with a dash of fantasy, and nothing mind blowing (like Game of Thrones), so this book fit the bill. It’s super easy to read, it’s easy to fall in love with these characters and the nostalgia is perfect for any previous YA reader who was as obsessed with Mari’s work as I was.

<spoiler>My “problems” with the novel – the conversation of blood mates was brought up twice, with two different reactions. One that the mate killed herself, the other that he didn’t have one…I’m slightly confused. Maybe I read it wrong, but it really threw the story off for me.</spoiler>

The romance was a beautiful line of this story, and I loved how Mari slowly introduced it. It wasn’t just sudden, and our character’s own pasts helped make the story a little more believable. It might not be a crazy realistic scenario (a 200 page story over a few days with vampires trying to kill someone. Please let me know if you’ve experienced this before so I can edit the review…) but it fit beautifully into the story. I really loved it.

I finished this book in about half an hour, I was that obsessed and couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to put it down, and I can’t wait for more books by Mari!! If there are more books in this series, I would be the happiest little reviewer in the world!! I would love to see more Sunny appear, since Rayne was visible in this story…But I’m not picky. Even just another book will fill my desires for more Blood Coven novels!

And we won’t have to wait to long…Dark and Stormy Vampire is next! And of course, as per usual, Mari leaves us off with a horrible cliff hanger! I swear Mari loves to torture us readers by leaving us with cliffhangers AND making us wait for more books…

Side Notes: Mari’s description of Logan is beautiful, but my recent obsession with Gilmore Girls can only see Logan Huntzberger. It oddly fits though…

Five out of five stars.

Thank you to Mari Mancusi and our epic Read and Review team for providing me a copy of this novel!! I can’t wait for the next one!!!

 

Check out Mari on Goodreads! Mari Mancusi on Goodreads

Or her website! Mari Mancusi’s Website

She can also be found on Twitter! @MariMancusi

Blood Covens also has it’s own website for your viewing pleasure!! Blood Covens Series by Mari Mancusi

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

Or follow me on Twitter! Briar’s Reviews on Twitter

 

#BookReview – Strungballs by Mike Russell

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Strungballs by Mike Russell

This book by Mike Russell is another short story. It’s a great read for those who want a short, exciting read (and for those like me who didn’t want to commit to another Games of Thrones book right away…).

This book is weird, if I put it lightly. The thought of a strungball was not something I have ever dreamed up in my life, but Mike Russell somehow thought this up and created a story about it! It’s unique and enticing to me when someone can create such interesting thoughts, which is why I enjoyed this book.

Getting to see this unique and different world through out main character’s eyes was great! It’s kind of sci-fi/dystopian-esque, which would be great for readers who are interested in those topics! It’s such a utopia that it’s a dystopia…those books are always interesting!

The book is so precise, and so fantastical, it’s hard to explain it in my own wording without ruining it. This utopia, perfect world that is so perfect that it’s not is probably the best way I can word it. I love how Mike made this world so perfect, because it makes you feel uneasy and thrilled by each turn this short story takes.

Our main character seems to be the only person questioning or going against the true perfection in this novel. While this has been done a hundred times over, it’s very fitting in this novel. Normally I would be annoyed and disgusted by seeing this trend over and over, but I liked it here. Mike makes it fit just well enough that I’m not questioning it.

Like Mike’s other books, you will begin questioning reality and life itself. It raises so many thought provoking questions in such little space, but that’s why I found it to intriguing. I have to say this is definitely my favourite book by him and I want to come back to it at a later date to see if my feelings change on this novel or not.

Overall, this maddening book will drive you over the edge with peculiarity! It’s a great read!

Five out of five!

Murderous May: The Girl on the Train – BOOK REVIEW EXTRAVAGANZA!

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Book Review
Book Title: The Girl on the Train
Author: Paula Hawkins

Introduction: I have had this book on my shelf for AGES. I had been dying to read it but I never had the time. And then, with a hint of luck, I had to go sit during a long appointment and I had all the time in the world to read this book! And I read about 85% of the book in one sitting and finished it one day later. I not only wanted to read it because of all the fantastic reviews I had read about it, but because I want to watch the film adaption as well. I always love reading the book before seeing the movie – hence why I haven’t watched many movies lately! So many are based on good books!

Review:

This book has been compared to Gone Girl since it hopped on the suspense/mystery novel scene – and while you can definitely say they are similar (because of, you know, murders and mystery) they are both fantastic in their own ways. They are two separate entities that shouldn’t be compared! Unless you are using them in a list of the best suspense books in the last decade, then list them together!

This book follows Rachel, a drunk, angry, depressed, bitter woman who has been divorced by Tom. Slowly throughout this book we are introduced to her back story – a glorious tale woven so beautifully by Paula Hawkins. Tom is now married to Anna, the other woman in his and Rachel’s relationship, and it all goes downhill from there. When a girl that Rachel has seen is missing, Rachel decides that she has to help this mystery.

Reading this book from Rachel’s, Anna and Meghan’s point of view is truly incredible. Rachel isn’t totally reliable because of her being an alcoholic, Anna sounds like the not-so-perfect housewife Tom probably desired at some point, and Meghan gives an inside view to the outside view Rachel has been watching. These three tales woven together are just so beautifully written that it’s hard not to want to tell everyone to read this book just to show them how three separate characters who barely interact can have  their lives so entwined with one enough.

So is all this hype worth it? I would say yes. Don’t put this book in some high and mighty place in your mind and then be disappointed. I decided I would read this to see the movie – all the comparisons to Gone Girl made me quite suspicious so I didn’t leave my standards high. But, surprisingly, this book was excellent. If I would have given it silly expectations, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much.

If I could describe this book in a few words, I would give it – insanity, murder, and suspicion. Every time I thought I had an idea of where this book was going, Paula had to go and shake it up like a magic eight ball. Typically I can see the ending from a mile away, and this book was different. I did NOT expect the ending. Will the reader guess it? Potentially, but it’s not a dead giveaway – which is why I like this book! Paula didn’t make it obvious and made the reader work for it if they wanted to guess.

Overall – this fast-paced, mind-blowing novel is definitely what I needed in my life! It lived up to the hype, and I’m excited to watch the film now! The psychological, murderous novel full of absolute insanity is spectacular! I can’t wait to read more by Paula Hawkins! Her and Gillian Flynn need to write a book together…because the insanity between the two of them in one book? That’d be killer!

Five out of five stars.

Positives:
1. Fast-Paced
2. Unpredictable Twists and Turns
3. Unreliable Narrators
4. Well Developed Characters
5. Complex Plot with a Layered Storyline
6. Unique Concepts

Negatives:
1. Comparisons to Gone Girl
2. Over-Hyped? Maybe.

Positive & Negative All Wrapped Up In One:
1. Dual (3 to be exact) POVs
2. Stereotypical Relationships
3. Black-Out Drunk Moments

HIS CUSTODY by Tamsen Parker Book Review

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Book Title: His Custody
Book Author: Tamsen Parker

Introduction: I’d be lying if I said Tamsen Parker wasn’t my favourite author. There’s many reasons why I love her (in a nerdy, fangirl type way) and many reasons why I respect her (as another female working their butt of in this funny world of business) but listing them all here wouldn’t do it justice. So, for a small introduction all I have to say is this: I LOVE supporting Tamsen and reading all of her books and posting my silly, little reviews for everyone to see. You can tell Tamsen is passionate about her books and she does an incredible job (she constantly raises the bars! She doesn’t stick to one topic and pump out fifty books of the same, old story. She changes it up!). I’ll continue reading every book she throws out until I can’t read anymore, and then I’ll find an audiobook and continue to devour every single novel she throws at me.

So thank you Tamsen for being such a wonderful author! From your little tweets that make my day, to the Valentine I got in the mail, to the very first time you offered to send me the rest of the Compass series to binge on. You are fantastic and I adore you and I appreciate everything you do (I don’t think people say that enough to anybody…so here’s my little appreciate two paragraphs to remind you ;D )! Keep up the great work!

Now it’s review time.

Review:

His Custody changes up the pace from Tamsen’s other books. We’ve seen the BDSM-type of novel, the voyeur novel, the F/F novel, and now this book is just a teeny bit different. And by teeny bit, I mean it’s a full 180. His Custody is what it sounds like – immediately you are thrown into this strange custody battle-esque scene where Jasper is trying to get custody of Keyne until she turns 18. I did NOT expect that, not at all. The title should have given it away, but hey, I’m not always looking for the most obviously reason behind the titles. I thought it might have been some sexy metaphor- but nope! Tamsen gives away the first scene in the title. She loves throwing me a loop, I swear sometimes she does this on purpose just to drive me insane! (Insane in a good way 😉 She’s keeping me on my toes…).

Bonus Marks: Jasper leaving Keyne a note. A hand written note! Oh, Tamsen loves playing with my heart strings.

Jasper is the knight in shining armor who is totally not the knight in shining armor. Drugs, kinks, all of that jazz that makes someone NOT the perfect knight in shining armor is Jasper. Yet he’s sexy as hell and works his butt off for Keyne. He’s not your typicaly goody-two shoes love interest, but that’s what makes him interesting! He’s not perfect, he has flaws. Slowly we’re seeing Tamsen develop her characters into bigger and better, and I love that!! Was he my favourite out of all her characters? No, but he’s still incredibly developed and written beautifully! (I still love the Compass series. Nothing has passed that yet…Cris from the Compass series fits my aesthetic).

Bonus Marks: “Mumbo jumbo” is used in this book. Finally someone else who uses my terminology!

This book is definitely another home run for Tamsen. She grows in her field, which is wonderful. I haven’t found many authors who continue to grow and share the knowledge their gaining without doing the same, old boring storyline over and over. She tries new things and experiments, which makes me respect her even more as an author. She goes above and beyond (and without spoiling), she goes to greater lengths to show pain, love, trust and other feelings in these characters where she hasn’t gone before.  This book is pretty deeper in it’s storyline and consequences. It’s a nice change to see a story with a little more pain than the past books, and it’s interesting to see how Tamsen deals with that in her stories.

Bonus Marks: “Hey, that guy has a penis”. The strangest yet funniest quote I’ve ever seen in a book.

There’s, of course, lots of sexy time in this novel. How would it be a Tamsen novel without the sexy time? It’s a splash of different compared to the other books. This book is harsh and intense, and the scenes between Jasper and Keyne fit that bill. It all ties in well with the dramatic scenes of this novel.

Frustrations: My frustrations are always silly with books like this. For example, my BIGGEST PROBLEM in this whole book is the name Andersson. Why is it two S’s? Why am I so annoyed by this? Why is this the BIGGEST issue in the whole book for me?! Who knows. It’s a great book! If I can say the spelling of a name is the biggest frustration of a book, you’ve done a good job!

My second frustration isn’t a book frustration – I know a female dog named Jasper, and for whatever reason I was not convinced that Jasper was the male leads name for the first twenty pages of this book. Silly frustration? Obviously. But again, if silly frustrations like this are my biggest frustrations, the book has to be good. Or at least on my level, it’s great.

WANDERLUST by Daisy Prescott Cover Reveal Party!

WANDERLUST (previously titled Missionary Position) by Daisy Prescott

Book Blurb:


“A captivating story about life, love, and an exciting and unintentional quest for self-discovery.”

Selah Elmore is a confident, curvy woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants. Her less-than-stellar love life is another story. Hoping for a fresh start, she leaves her home and job in the Pacific Northwest to spend six months in West Africa.

After accepting an offer from a stranger in an airport bar, Selah’s real adventure begins during a stopover in Amsterdam. Will the daring, mysterious Kai show her what love really is?

Sparks fly on three continents when perpetually single Selah discovers there’s more to love and life than she ever imagined.

Wanderlust is book three in the Modern Love Stories series. It’s a spin-off/standalone from Geoducks Are for Lovers.

#1 Top Rated Book in Humorous Women’s Fiction
Top 20 Humorous Women’s Fiction Best Seller
Romantic Comedy Best Seller

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OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
WE WERE HERE (Modern Love Story, #1)
GEODUCKS ARE FOR LOVERS (Modern Love Story, #2)

AUTHORS NOTE:

Hi lovely readers,

The first thing you’re probably asking is if this is a new book. It’s not. It’s the same book but with a new title and cover as Missionary Position.
Why the change?
While the Missionary Position title works for Selah’s love story (and makes us both giggle), it might give readers the wrong idea. Wanderlust is one of my favorite words and better captures the romance between Kai and Selah set on three continents. Because of the sexual implications of the title, MP keeps being put in the erotica dungeon despite being more of a rom com (again, giggles about this from both Selah and me).
Plus, Missionary Position is also the title of a Mother Teresa biography, and well, that’s kind of awkward.
After stewing about this for a few years, I decided to rebrand the book with a new look and title in hopes more people will discover this wonderful book. It’s still one of my favorites. Wanderlust is a love story between an older woman and a younger man set on the West African coast, full of humor and unexpected adventures.
Thanks for reading!
——

AUTHOR BIO:

USA Today Bestselling Author Daisy Prescott writes romantic comedies with heart.

Her Modern Love Stories feature characters in their thirties and forties finding and rediscovering love in unexpected and humorous ways. Her Wingmen books star regular guys who often have beards, drive trucks, and love deeply once they fall. Look for her new Rom Com series, Love with Altitude, in 2017.

Born and raised in San Diego, Daisy currently lives in a real life Stars Hollow in the Boston suburbs with her husband, their rescue dog, and an indeterminate number of imaginary house goats. When not writing about herself in the third person, Daisy can be found traveling, gardening, baking, or lost in a good book.

To learn more about Daisy and her writing, sign up for her mailing list here (copy and paste this link):eepurl.com/xhXb5. Send her an email at: daisyauthor AT gmail DOT com Or chat with her on Twitter (@daisy_prescott) and Facebook: /daisyprescottauthorpage, and follow her on Instagram: /daisyprescott

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AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: http://www.daisyprescott.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daisyprescottauthorpage

Twitter: https://twitter.com/daisy_prescott

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/daisyprescottauthor

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/daisyprescott/

Amazon:   http://amzn.to/1TIVUHO

Newsletter: eepurl.com/xhXb5