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Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Act Like It by Lucy ParkerAct Like It Published by Carina Press on 30 Nov 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Performing Arts
Pages: 199
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Upper Bidford, England

First Line(s): Almost every night, between nine and ten past, Lainie Graham passionately kissed her ex-boyfriend. She was then gruesomely dead by ten o’clock, stabbed through the neck by a jealous rival.

I forget who first told me to read ACT LIKE IT by Lucy Parker but I do know that I saw mention of the book on Twitter (or was it Instagram?). But when I read the synopsis I knew that I had to check this book out as it contained a few of my favorite tropes and had the added bonus of being set in one of my favorite cities, London. ACT LIKE IT focuses on Lainie Graham and Richard Troy who are co-staring in a London play. Lainie is new(ish) to the stage but Richard is a well know star and he’s having a bit of a PR problem. The theatre company then decides it’d be a grand idea if Richard and Lainie pretend to date saying it’ll be a win-win for all. Richard’s image is improved by Lainie’s good girl influence, she becomes more well known, and the theatre sells seats. What could go wrong?

Initially, Lainie and Richard do not like each other. But the sparks totally fly off the page between them. They have a chemistry that can’t be denied and I loved watching their journey. ACT LIKE IT is a total emotional roller coaster that had me laughing one moment and near tears as my heart broke in the next. This book was a total heartachey read and I devoured it! Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop until I hit the last page and then I was sad because it was over. The feelings ACT LIKE IT made me feel were raw and real and *sighs* just so very wonderful!!

Act Like It Quote

 

I loved Parker’s writing style and I am sad that she’s a debut author because I can’t bounce over and read a huge back list of titles. Instead I have to wait with eager anticipation for her next book, PRETTY FACE, which is expected out later this Fall. I also loved how this book was set in a theatre and how Richard was this grumpy gus of an actor who comes around as he falls for Lainie. I do so adore my grumpy heroes especially those that resist falling in love because it makes their fall so much sweeter. And another thing I loved about ACT LIKE IT…no pointless breakup!! As per the romance book trope there is drama, angst and a parting of the ways and while I hated that there was a parting it was real, hard on the heart, and I loved how Lainie and Richard reacted.

ACT LIKE IT is one of those books I wish I could read again for the first time. Its a book that I know I’ll re-read and love every time. Its just a fun filled story and such a quick read that its sure to delight all the romance book readers who read my blog. It is filled with strong, smart characters with witty dialogue along with with sexy moments that positively sizzle off the page. As I’ve said there is a ton of chemistry and great banter between Lainie and Richard and they are a couple that readers are bound to love. For me, ACT LIKE IT, hit all the right notes at just the right time and just by writing this review I already want to pick this one up for a re-read. Its just that fun and enjoyable. So do yourself a favor and buy this one today!

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Act Like It 

Add All Note Long by Annabeth Albert to Goodreads (Review coming soon)

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Kings Rising by CS Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Kings Rising by CS PacatKings Rising by CS Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Prince's Gambit
Published by Berkley Books on 02 February 16
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Fortaine, Vere // Kingsmeet, Akielos // Ios, Akielos

First Line(s): ‘Damianos.’ Damen stood at the base of the dais steps as his name spread in tones of shock and disbelief over the courtyard.

I am not entirely sure what to say in this review of KINGS RISING by CS Pacat that hasn’t already been said. How do I add to the gush fest that I wrote of the first two books in this series? How do I accurately sum up just how amazing this whole series was and all the feels it made me feel? There really aren’t words for me to use to fully describe this book or at least none adequate enough as I still have trouble speaking coherently about this book. I picked up KINGS RISING immediately after finishing PRINCE’S GAMBIT (my review) because I couldn’t wait another second before knowing what happened next. Especially with how PRINCE’S GAMBIT ended!! Secrets have been revealed and that is just the start of all the crazy twists and turns in this book.

Damen and Laurent have slowly been coming together and Damen’s secret could be the thing that finally breaks them. The final journey of these two is just so heartachingly good!! There are few couples in the book world that have effected me as much as Damen and Laurent have. Their romance is a slow burn filled with secrets and mistrust and eventually nothing but hope and love. It takes three books to get them there but oh what a journey it was to bring them to those final moments!! The Captive Prince series is such a roller coaster of emotion but oh my stars I would give anything to experience this read for the first time again. There is nothing like that first read where you have no idea what is waiting for you with each turn of the page and Pacat definitely excels at building up the suspense!!

Kings Rising Quote

Oh Pacat does still use her fancy $3 words but I didn’t care about that as much in this book as the others because I kind of thought that KINGS RISING might be the book that would kill me. (Spoiler: it didn’t…but it came close!). KINGS RISING really put my heart through the ringer and despite all my hopes I wasn’t sure that it would end the way I wanted to. This made my read of it complete torture but I wouldn’t change that ride for anything because the emotional investment in a story is part of what I love about reading. I totally lost myself for the hours it took me to read this book. I was Damen and Laurent and all the side characters. I wasn’t in my apartment reading in bed but right there on the battlefield wondering who I could trust and who would betray me next.

While PRINCE’S GAMBIT is probably my favorite in the series KINGS RISING is a close second. I read the two so close together that its hard to separate them at times. All I know is that I went into CAPTIVE PRINCE thinking that I would hate the books and I almost cried when I turned the last page of KINGS RISING because it was over. The end of a series is so hard especially when it was such an emotional read but as I’ve said I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. If you know me, you know that I don’t gush about a ton of books. I recommend a ton but I’m not a gusher. This series though, this series totally makes me gush, and for that reason alone you should give it a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it. I know I didn’t.

 

 

Kings Rising Thoughts

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

three-half-stars
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Review + Interview: Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Contest, Interview, Review1 Comment

Review + Interview: Bittersweet by Sarina BowenBittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Series: True North,
Also in this series: Steadfast
Published by Self-Published on 14 June 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 293
Format: eARC
Source: Publicist
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, Him, The Fifteenth Minute, Coming in from the Cold, Us, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To: Tuxbury, Vermont // Boston, Massachusetts // Norwich, Vermont // Fairlee, Vermont

First Line(s): “Giffin?”

Regular readers to my blog will know that I am a big fan of Sarina Bowen’s work. I love her real and complex characters and the love stories that she tells. So I was very excited to be able to read BITTERSWEET which is the start of a new series and is set in Vermont. BITTERSWEET alternates POVs between Audrey, a flightly free spirit who is trying to find her place in the world, and Griff a gruff farmer who loves what he does and who doesn’t believe in happily ever afters. So its a good thing that he and Audrey collide because despite all that she’s been through she still finds rainbows on rainy days. Griff and Audrey’s relationship is a mix between opposites attract and a second chance at love because when Griff pulls Audrey’s car out of a ditch we learn its not the first time that they’ve met. Nor is it the first time that sparks have flown between them.

And boy do the sparks fly.

The chemistry between Griff and Audrey leaps off the page and I loved the tension and how well these two worked together. Their journey isn’t without its bumps in the road and both are wary about putting it all out on the line but I loved the entire thing. And best of all….there is no pointless break up!! Yes, there is drama and separation…this is a romance story after all. But the parting is a bittersweet one (see what I did there) as Audrey and Griff aren’t quite ready to admit that they are each others forever dream. Especially Audrey, who has worked so hard to find her place in a world that seems to always want to put her down. She comes from a privileged life but she isn’t quiet the personality that her mother was expecting. So, Audrey finds it especially hard to come to the conclusion that dreams can change and that the path you thought was solid may not be the right one for you.

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Bittersweet Quote

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Another thing that I loved about BITTERSWEET was the secondary cast. I almost loved them more than Griff and Audrey! Griff’s family is hilarious and fun and I loved what they brought to the page every time they made an appearance. Then there is Zara who is a little caustic but also who becomes a good friend to Audrey, which is something that they both really need. But one of my favorites was Zach. Oh sweet, adorable blushing Zach. He’s quiet and shy but he sees so much and what little we learn of his backstory in BITTERSWEET leaves me aching to know more. I desperately want him to find a happily ever after.

BITTERSWEET is a beautiful story with a good message and one that will make even the coldest readers heart ache. Its real and emotional and I was so glad that I brought this on a plane with me because it gave me hours of uninterrupted reading time. I was able to get lost in this world and I hated it when I hit the last page. I was even tempted to read the chapter sampler of STEADFAST and if you know me at all you know that I don’t read samplers!!  Thankfully though I won’t have long to wait as STEADFAST is expected to be released in July followed by KEEPSAKE in October. This is both good and bad. Good because I don’t have to wait three years to finish the series but bad because it means it won’t be long until I can’t experience this world for the first time again. *sighs* The reading life…its so hard.

But what isn’t hard is to fall in love with BITTERSWEET so go forth and buy your copy today!! If you like a good love story then this is one you won’t want to miss!! (Seriously….that orchard scene!! #swoon)

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irishdarkblue

Read chapter one of BITTERSWEEET here!!

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IR - Bittersweet

 

Add Accidentally Married on Purpose by Rachel Harris to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Tied to Trouble by Megan Erickson to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

Q&A

 

1. Describe yourself in one sentence.

I am a total goofball.

2. Can you describe your newest book, BITTERSWEET, in five words or less?

Hot grumpy farmer vs. chef.

3. What inspired you to write the TRUE NORTH series?

I always knew I’d write another book about Vermont, because it’s just such a cool place in the world. It’s rugged and sexy in a way that’s different from my hockey books.

4. Which character in the TRUE NORTH books was your favorite to write and why?

Audrey, because she never gives up, even when people try to convince her she’ll fail.

5. Which line do you find harder to write, the first or the last?

The last one. I hate last lines. Real life doesn’t have last lines, ergo they are tricky in fiction.

6. What’s the craziest/strangest thing you’ve googled (to date) in the name of research?

Oh boy. I’ve Googled some things that made me warn the family, “when the FBI comes to investigate, tell them it was for the novel.” How to buy a gun on the internet, etc.

7. What is your favorite Hard Cider to drink….and have you ever had one that tasted like the one that Griff and Audrey make together?

The ciders by Farnum Hill at Poverty Lane Orchard are awfully funky. 🙂 I like Champlain Orchards Cidery, too.

8. Without spoiling, what was your favorite scene to write in BITTERSWEET?

The cider tasting scene! I cracked myself right up there.

9. One thing I loved about BITTERSWEET was its celebration of local, farm fresh items and small businesses. What are some of your favorite products that you can only get when you are in Vermont?

There ARE a million awesome Vermont foods. Vermont Peanut Butter company makes a flavor called Good Karma that has dark chocolate in it. I love it desperately.

10. Any teases or hints you want to give about STEADFAST or KEEPSAKE? (AKA what I really want to know is will Zach get a story? Because I adored him!)

I will tell you that Zach is book #3 and that you haven’t met his heroine yet. But that’s all I’ll say!

Interesting

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Contest

 Enter to win an kindle, kobo, or nook copy of Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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rippling

four-stars
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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Reads for Second Half of Year

Posted by Irish in Top Ten Tuesday4 Comments

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Graphic made by David at From My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish this weeks topic is all about the books we are looking forward to in the coming months. As always I have a lot of anticipated reads and it was hard to narrow down this list. I’ve also been in a bit of an adult/new adult romance mood this year so decided to populate this anticipated read list with many of those with a couple YA exceptions. What books make your anticipated read this for the coming months?

 

1. Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman (Release Date: 18 October 2016)

The highly anticipated sequel to the instant New York Timesbestseller that critics are calling “out-of-this-world awesome.”

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

2. The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson (Release Date: 02 Aug 2016)

Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous – what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson’s combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.

3. A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean (Release Date: 30 August 2016)

Lonesome Lily Turned Scandalous Siren

Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn’t hesitate…until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.

Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke

The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.

Tartan Comes to Town

Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else’s problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It’s the perfect plan, until Lily declares she’ll only marry for love…and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much…

4. Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (Release Date: 06 September 2016)

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

5. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig (Release Date: 04 October 2016)

Flynn’s girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?

Flynn’s girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can’t answer, and her friends are telling stories that don’t add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January’s boyfriend, he must know something.

But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January’s disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

6. His Royal Secret by Lilah Pace (Release Date: 19 July 2016)

The first in an enchanting new male/male romantic duology from Lilah Pace, author of Asking for More and Begging for It ….

James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he’s keeping a king-sized secret…James, next in line for the throne, is gay.

He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.

While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James’s eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.

But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth…

7. Overexposed by Megan Erickson (Release Date: 20 September 2016)

Love runs wild on the Appalachian Trail in the latest from the author of Out of Frame and Focus on Me

Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he’d planned to do with his sister.

His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs…

8. Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell (Release Date: 11 July 2016)

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan–the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.

He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated.


9. Single Player by Elia Winters (Release Date: 26 September 2016)

Matthew Abrams finally has the life he’s always wanted—a promising career as a programmer at PI Games, a decent apartment in a nice neighborhood, and a thriving social life. And he’s perfectly content until he has a one-night stand with Silas Benson, a biomedical engineer with a charitable side to boot. Suddenly Matthew is doubting his life choices and worrying he might not be living up to his full potential.

Silas Benson doesn’t have time for much else outside of work, and that’s how he’s always liked it. As a biomedical engineer, he’s at the cutting edge of advances in the field, and he’s not going to waste his life partying when he could be doing actual good in the world. After a one-night stand at his friend’s twenty-fifth birthday party, though, Silas feels his focus shifting toward a certain tall, dark, and handsome almost-stranger.

When an emotional breakdown requires Silas to take a leave of absence from work, Matthew rushes to his aid and teaches him the merits of frivolity. Silas is an unwilling student at first, but Matthew soon has him in the groove, which makes for one steamy, wild ride. But is this a forever sort of affair, or will Silas abandon Matthew’s wanton ways in favor of a life of serious-minded solitude?

10. Connection Error by Annabeth Albert (Release Date: 05 September 2016)

It’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

unknown cover

Bonus: The Goal by Elle Kennedy (Release Date: 26 September 2016)

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Blog Tour: My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand & Brodi Ashton

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest0 Comments

Blog Tour: My Lady Jane by Jodi Meadows, Cynthia Hand & Brodi Ashton

My Lady JaneSYNOPSIS:

For fans of The Princess Bride comes the comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey.

Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger—and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

(Get a taste of this novel by reading the prologue!)

mlj-fact4

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION

We’re the authors of the upcoming young adult novel, MY LADY JANE, which will be out with HarperTeen on June 7, 2016. Our group is made up of Brodi Ashton (author of the EVERNEATH series and DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY), Cynthia Hand (New York Times bestselling author of the UNEARTHLY series and THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE), and Jodi Meadows (author of the INCARNATE and the ORPHAN QUEEN series). Between the three of us we’ve written thirteen novels, a bunch of novellas, a handful of short stories, and a couple of really bad poems, but this is the first time we’ve taken a stab at writing a book together. We’re friends. We’re writers. We’re fixing history by rewriting one sad story at a time.

lady janies

 

FIND THE LADY JANIES: WEBSITE || TWITTER || FACEBOOK

Tour Stops

DATE

June 6

Angie @ Lady Knight Reads

Sarah @ The YA Book Traveler

June 7

Sarah @ What Sarah Read

Lauren @ Love is Not a Triangle

June 8

Lauren @ Bookmark Lit

Stephanie @ A Dream Within a Dream

June 9

Mary @ Mary Had a Little Book Blog

Nori @ Read Write Love 28

June 10

Bonnie @ A Backwards Story

Gail @ Ticket to Anywhere

June 13

Kelly @ Belle of the Literati

Lisa @ Lisa Loves Literature

June 14

Lori @ Writing My Own Fairytale

Alyssa @ The Eater of Books

June 15

Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales

Sarah @ Aphonic Sarah

June 16

Jessica @ Step Into Fiction

Jen @ The Starry-Eyed Revue

June 17

Kassiah @ Swoony Boys Podcast

Lisa @ Lost in Literature

Contest

There will be a tour-wide giveaway for three (3) copies of My Lady Jane for three lucky winners! The giveaway will be open internationally, as long as Book Depository ships to them.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Blog Tour: Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan Q&A

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour, Contest, Interview0 Comments

Shadow Magic

ABOUT SHADOW MAGIC:

Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.

Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?

Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.

 

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

 Q&A

What do you hope the readers will take away from SHADOW MAGIC?

Thrills, spills, and chills. A few tears and plenty of laughs. It’s pretty big for a mid-grade, but I hope to take the reader out of the day to day for a few hours, and send them to a land of undead with the sweetest princess of darkness they’ll ever hope to meet, an outlaw boy with a dark secret and, of course, one epically giant vampire bat!

If they close the covers and are still loving the tale the next day, that’s my job done.

What book(s) would you recommend to a reader who loved SHADOW MAGIC, and wants to read something similar?

Okay, this has an easy answer, and a hard one. For the easy answer I’d say Rick Riordan (go for his Kane chronicles, and his new Magnus Chase series, featuring Norse gods) and then (naturally) J.K Rowling. But, TBH, you’ve probably read them so often that the pages have fallen out. Both were very much in my mind as I worked on SM. Rick has a great ability to balance the action and frightening scenes with humour, and that’s important for mid-grade and the type of book I wanted to write. Mine was set in a land of undead, where you’ve got zombies working in the kitchens and ghosts minding the doors. Yet I wanted something younger kids could get into, so the scary concepts needed to be tempered with humour. Lily’s earliest memory if of old ‘One-eyed Ron’, the faithful servant who’d been in looking after the Shadow family for generations, Sure, he was a zombie, but at least he let her practice her sewing on him without fuss (his ears tended to fall off, especially near the end when he was being held together by spit, twine and a lot of nails).

What can be said about JK Rowling that hasn’t been said? But, for me, Hogwarts RULED. She built a brilliant fantasy world, and that was a huge inspiration.

Now, the hard answers. These are the guys and gals who’ve been around but may still be under the radar.

Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series blew my mind when I read it. It’s steam-punk and full of pure wonder, heart-ache and total excitement. He should be a lot more famous than he is.

For older readers, I’ve recommend pretty much anything by Angela Carter and ‘The Book of Lost Things’ by John Connolly, and his Nocturnes. But you will end up sleeping with the lights on!

I’m a huge, HUGE comics fan. Sandman is a classic, and the tone, magical, ethereal and where the magical is day to day, was part of the thought process in SM (and no doubt on my mind when I was working on the sequel, DREAM MAGIC).

Then try out the British hero, JUDGE DREDD. I’ve been reading his adventures since I was a wee lad, and its loud, violent and edgy satire. Again, probably for older readers.

I cannot end this without mentioning The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (as if I needed to tell you that). It remains the greatest children’s book of all time, and anyone who loves fantasy should have it on their shelves.

What was your favourite part of writing SHADOW MAGIC?

Impossible to define, as you must love all bits of it, though in different ways. I loved writing Castle Gloom, its history and its surroundings. It’s huge, a city really, but one without windows. The lords of darkness built it, so why would they ever want any light to enter? It’s the ultimate haunted house, but our heroine, Lily, loves it. It’s her home. She loves the gargoyles, the bats, the vast empty halls and the echoes of her footsteps down its endless corridors. Each time I wrote about Gloom I wanted the reader to get a hint of why Lily would love it so much. A character tells her she smells of ‘Stones and Bones’, and that’s true. The stones of her castle, and the bones of her ancestors. They define her.

I loved writing the mystery. I needed to put in the clues to who was the villain, why they did what they did, and the consequences of their actions. By setting it in one place, Castle Gloom, you have a host of suspects, but Lily and Thorn race against the clock, as the villain has not finished their work…

Finally, it was fun letting the characters grow and watching what they’d get up to. I’d put Lily and Thorn in situations, then let them sort it out. They both have their own styles of dealing with danger. Lily is a proud, magical princess from a legendary family. She can trace her ancestors back to the beginning of history. Thorn’s a nobody from a village no-one has heard of and the most famous member of his family is grand-dad, because of his whistling pigs.

Sometimes you know where you’re going when you write. Sometimes you don’t and you count on your heroes to sort it out. When that happens, it’s brilliant.

What are the 5 must-have items when you sit down to write?

I work a lot in cafes, so the first is background noise. I like having activity around me. I can tune it out but writing’s a lonely business so it’s cool to see a few familiar faces, day to day. The cafe owner is a big fantasy fan too, so we have plenty of chats about the latest episode of Game of Thrones!

Second is ignorance. I try and forget about what else is happening. There are always distractions. Get the cleaning done. Make supper. Pick up this, drop off that. Checking up on Facebook. CUT IT OUT. Protect your writing time and enjoy it. I must admit, when I’m in the story, it is the best time ever. I still feel awe that this is my job.

Item three is music. I write with earphones. Not always, but more often than not. It helps carry you away into another mood, another world. Right now I’m listening to Florence and the Machine.

The fourth is what I call ‘Boots and a Compass’. Have the gear you need to explore, and some idea of where you’re going. A sense of direction’s important, to maintain focus, but with boots you’re ready to enjoy the scenery, rather that struggle through it because the soles of your sneakers are too thin and every step is a pain and you just want it over. Whenever I sit down to work, I make sure I’ve got what I need, equipment-wise, and a rough (only a rough) idea of what I want to get done that day, a scene, a chapter, an article.

Five is a deadline. You need to know when to stop. Writing is a bloody amazing job, but don’t let it rule your life. There are family, friends, duty all away from the screen. Remember that’s your life too. I used to let work spill over into evenings, weekends and even holidays. No more. Do the best you can in the time you have, then park it. It links with protecting your writing time. Commit to work, commit to family. That’s pretty much how I manage my life. When all is said and done, that’s what I want my legacy to be. To have raised good kids.

Though galaxy-spanning best-seller would be nice too…

 Joshua Khan (1)

ABOUT JOSHUA KHAN:

Born in Britain. Lives in London. Would rather live in a castle. Writes fantasy. Enjoys it. 

 

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Prince’s Gambit by C.S. PacatPrince's Gambit by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince, Book 2
Also in this series: Captive Prince, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 July 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Pages: 404
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Captive Prince

Place(s) Traveled To: Chastillion, Vere // Fortain, Vere // Acquitart, Vere // Delpha, Akielos  // Ravenel, Vere // Marlas, Vere

First Line(s): The shadows were long with sunset when they rode up, and the horizon was red.

After finishing CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat (my review) I couldn’t get the story out of my head so had to get my hands on the second book in the series, PRINCE’S GAMBIT. PRINCE’S GAMBIT picks up right where CAPTIVE PRINCE ends and is filled with even more tension and political intrigue. It’s also in PRINCE’s GAMBIT where the romance between Laurent and Damen really starts to heat up. Though this series is still what I’d call a slow burn in the romance department. There are no grand declarations in this book but lots of forays into what is to come and of course drama and tension. But not crazy over the top drama or angst. Everything about PRINCE’S GAMBIT is real, raw and organic and I just couldn’t put this book down!! I loved the push and pull between Damen and Laurent as they worked together against the Regent and also worked toward forging a bond.

In CAPTIVE PRINCE, you learn that Laurent has essentially been on his own and had to keep his own council since the day that his father and older brother were killed. He doesn’t trust easily and there are still so many secrets between Laurent and Damen so you know that shit is about to get real before these two can find a happily ever after. As I mentioned about, the tension is off the hook in PRINCE’S GAMBIT and I just couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next. The political intrigue that is the baseline of the story really hits its stride as events that were started in CAPTIVE PRINCE start to unfold. Laurent, as usual, always seems to be several steps ahead of the rest and yet there are still some things that take him by surprise which makes for much edge of your seat reading.

Prince's Gambit Quote

I totally fell in love with this story and liked it even more than CAPTIVE PRINCE. I stayed up late to read it with my heart racing for much of the last half of the book. Not that this book has a ton of crazy action to it, because it doesn’t, but the political drama and of course the growing relationship between Laurent and Damen really sucks the reader in. Although, the super big fancy words that Pacat is so found of did distract a bit from the story. Using words like expostulation in place of protest just seemed so unnecessary and while I do hate when books are dumbed down there is such a thing as trying to hard to sound smart. I think that this series could have stood just as strong with words more commonly used than some of the word choices that Pacat makes.

Overall though, I loved PRINCE’S GAMBIT and found it even more compelling that CAPTIVE PRINCE. I was hooked from word one and am so glad that I decided to give this series a shot. Its such a heart achy read and has defied all of my expectations. Its so rare for a hyped up book to live up to the hype for me and this series is one of those few that make the cut. When I finished PRINCE’S GAMBIT I was DYING for KINGS RISING because I just couldn’t wait to see how the series ended. This is definitely one series where you’ll want to have access to all the books before starting because the cliff hangers between each are killer!!

 

irishdarkblue IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog.

four-stars
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Top 12 List: May 2016 / Month in Review

Posted by Irish in Month in Review, Top 12 List0 Comments

TopTwelve
Hello Internet!
By now you know the drill with this post. I list out the top books that I read and loved this past month and from them I choose the best of the best. This book then gets listed in my Top 12 List (check out my sidebar) and at the end of the year those 12 books are pitted against each other and my top book for the year is chosen.

The Contenders – 5 Star Reads

Hamilton

Hamilton the Revolution by Lin Manual-Miranda

If anyone is surprised by this….then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you.

What about you? What was your favorite book read this month? Let me know in the comments below. =)

Month in review – Here’s the other books I read this month:

4 Star Reads

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kleypas
Short Stay by Heidi Culinan
Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

3 Star Reads

Chasing Lady Amelia by Maya Rodale (3.5 Stars)
Leveling the Field by Megan Erickson (3.5 Stars)
Charged by Jay Crownover
Down for the Count by Catherine Bell
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

 

2 Star Reads

NA

1 Star Reads

NA

DNF Reads – maybe I’ll try these again at some point, but for now they don’t resonate with me

NA

 

Books read in cover form:

 

What I read in May 2016. #whatiread #irish2016reads #books #bookstagram #instabook #igreads

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on


 

Book reviews:

Miscellaneous Posts:

Places “Traveled” to this month:

See my “travel” index for a complete list of all the places I’ve been through books. (This is list currently out of date, my apologies for that! So check out my Month in Review posts in the interim.)

England: Kent via BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON
England: London via BECAUSE OF MISS BRIDGERTON, CHASING LADY AMELIA, and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
England: Witney via THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Mexico: Cabo San Lucas via HIDDEN BODIES
Puerto Rico: San Juan via DOWN FOR THE COUNT
United States: California: Los Angeles via TELL ME THREE THINGS and HIDDEN BODIES
United States: California: Malibu via HIDDEN BODIES
United States: California: Palm Springs via HIDDEN BODIES
United States: Colorado: Denver via CHARGED
United States: Hawaii: Honolulu via SUMMER OF SLOANE
United States: Illinois: Chicago via TELL ME THREE THINGS and SHORT STAY
United States: Massachussets: Boston via BITTERSWEET
United States: Nevada: Las Vegas via SHORT STAY and HIDDEN BODIES
United States: Nevada: Reno via HIDDEN BODIES
United States: New York: New York via HIDDEN BODIES
United States: Pennsylvania: Willow Park via LEVELING THE FIELD
United States: Rhode Island: Little Compton via HIDDEN BODIES
United States: Rhode Island: Unknown via DOWN FOR THE COUNT
United States: Vermont: Tuxbury via BITTERSWEET
United States: Washington: Seattle via SUMMER OF SLOANE

Random Moments from May 2016:

Be sure to check out my instagram to see what I’ve been up to!

So May wasn’t as awesome as April but only because it had the poor unfortune to come after I saw Hamilton. All in all though it was still a pretty good month. I went to an amazing Red Sox game where I saw David Ortiz get his 600th double in this super close edge of your seat game that went into overtime. I also went to Harpoon Fest thanks to a last minute text from a friend which asked “Hey…doing anything today, wanna go drink beer?” For bookish things, I saw Maggie Steifvater at her An Unexpected Story event….she’s seriously one of my favorite authors to see live and try to not to miss an event. If she comes near you, go. Even if you don’t read her books it will be worth it. Trust me. And finally, I flew to NM to visit with my siter, BIL, and the pig-tailed overlord for the start of a very exhausting vacation. Six year olds….they wear you out man.

 

Such a great game yesterday!!! #redsox #baseball #fenway #fenwaypark #latergram #boston

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Hello last minute plans for #harpoonfest great life choice @slimmy415 @andiabcs @sofiestarr

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Welcome to Roswell…where the aliens live among us #Roswell #gailandnmtrip #aliens

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

Currently on repeat:

I love music and if I’m not listening to an audio book then you can be sure my trusty old iPod is getting a major workout. As with previous months I’m still deeply enmeshed in Hamilton though I couldn’t choose just one song to list here….so instead how about all of them? This is a great mash up of the soundtrack and its totally worth the listen!

 

 

 

irishdarkblue
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Friday, June 3, 2016

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Captive Prince by C.S. PacatCaptive Prince by C.S. Pacat
Series: Captive Prince,
Also in this series: Prince's Gambit, Kings Rising
Published by Berkley Books on 07 April 2015
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, GLBT, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Royalty, Survival Stories
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
Also by this author: Prince's Gambit

Place(s) Traveled To: Ios, Akielos // Arles, Vere

First Line(s): Damen came back to himself in stages, his drugged limbs heavy against the silk cushions, the gold cuffs on his wrists like lead weights.

When I first heard about CAPTIVE PRINCE by C.S. Pacat  prior to its release by Berkley Books I didn’t think it was a book for me and so promptly forgot about it. Fast forward to a year later and it seemed like I couldn’t get away from mention of this series in all my social media from a variety of readers. I then decided to look into CAPTIVE PRINCE further and requested a copy from my library to read. Regular readers know that I’m usually really wary of hyped up books and that was the case with CAPTIVE PRINCE and yet its because of the hype that had me curious to know more. The story is told from the POV of Damen who is the Crown Prince of Akielos who is captured and sent into a life of slavery by his own half-brother who has overthrown the kingdom. To increase tensions the place where Damen is sent is to Akielos’s rival nation and he’s given to Prince Laurent, whose older brother Damen killed years earlier during a war between the nations.

Tension abounds in CAPTIVE PRINCE and I have to admit that I was enthralled with this novel. The political intrigue was gripping and tensions were high. I loved Damen’s voice and really felt for the situation that he found himself in. I was also really drawn to Laurent, who reminded me a lot of Gen from Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series. Like Gen, Laurent is always several steps ahead of everyone and is an expert at holding his cards to his chest and in pretending to be something he’s not. I loved how these two interacted together as they started to feel each other out and while there is no real romance in CAPTIVE PRINCE you can see the seeds being set for the romance that is to come. But first both Damen and Laurent must go through some personal journeys and deal with some hard truths before they can get to their HEA.

Captive Prince Quote

Another thing that I liked about CAPTIVE PRINCE was the world building. Pacat created a rich and vibrant world that was easy to visualize throughout the story. I loved how she set up the various kingdoms and how distinct they were. I also liked how vivid the tensions were between Akielos and Vere which were also reflected in the tensions between Damen and Laurent. Although, I will admit that there were some things that happened in the court of Vere that I did not care for. There was a rape culture that existed that just made me uncomfortable and I rushed to get through one scene in particular. I also felt that CAPTIVE PRINCE was well written although Pacat seemed to have a fondness for big fancy words that were often unnecessary where a normal word would do. I pride myself on my vocabulary but there were times that I was glad to be reading CAPTIVE PRINCE on my kindle as it was easy to look some words up.

CAPTIVE PRINCE isn’t a perfect book and its not a book for everyone but I for one enjoyed the story. As I said, I didn’t think that it was going to be for me but in the end I was really glad that I gave it a shot as I really liked the overall story even as there were things here and there that I didn’t not care for. CAPTIVE PRINCE was a book that took me by surprise and then stayed with me long after I turned the last page. Its a compelling read and one where I was glad to have easy access to the second and third books of this series because once I finished CAPTIVE PRINCE I wanted to jump into the other books immediately. This is definitely a book that I’ll be re-reading in the future as I just fell in love with the main characters and their story. And I think that many of you will as well if you just give it a shot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Captive Prince

 

Add Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Important Note: Even though I compare CAPTIVE PRINCE to YA titles this is not a YA book and contains mature themes. This Irish Recommends is more for the adults who read YA and my blog. 

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne Young

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Audio Review: The Remedy by Suzanne YoungThe Remedy by Suzanne Young
Narrator: Rebekkah Ross
Series: The Program,
Also in this series: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 21 April 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Dystopian, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Sci-Fi, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 9 hrs and 45 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Program, The Treatment, The Epidemic

Place(s) Traveled To: Corvallis, Oregon // Eugene, Oregon // Portland, Oregon // Lake Oswego, Oregon

First Line(s): It’s time to say good-bye.

When it came to Suzanne Young’s book THE PROGRAM (my review) I fell hard and I was sad when the series was over as I just loved this world that she created. When I heard that Young was writing a prequel duology I was both excited and scared and sad. I was excited because I wanted more of this world and I was scared because I wasn’t sure if THE REMEDY would live up to its predecessor and I was sad because our old friends wouldn’t be in this one. I should not have worried though as Young totally knocked things out of the park with this creepy origin story to how The Program came to be. THE REMEDY is told from the POV of Quinlan McKey who is a Closer. That is she is a girl that pretends to be girls who died in order to help grieving families move on.

Quin’s life is never fully her own due to the work that she does and its something that her father has had her do for the past 11 years. Which is far far longer than the recommended time to be a closer. In THE REMEDY she’s sent out on a long term assignment not long after coming off a job and as a result she begins to lose herself a little. Quin has never lived a normal life but in this role she gets to experiment with what may have been if her life was different and she likes it. Quin also begins to uncover some shocking facts and learns that all may not be what it seems with the company that she works for and with the world in general. There seems to be an epidemic starting and if she isn’t careful she might get sucked in.

The Remedy Quote

I didn’t think that I would like a character more than Sloane from THE PROGRAM but Quin totally wins the reader over with her actions. She’s smart and vulnerable and as a reader you just want her to find peace and happiness. You want to shake her father for making her do this work and you want to slap Deacon for some of the things that he does. I was totally invested in THE REMEDY and found myself coming up with reasons to drive around town just to listen to more of this story. Its twisty and turny and there are just some things you can’t see coming until after they’ve happened. Rebekkah Ross is a fantastic narrator and her voice just totally sucks you into this story and won’t let you go. Ross *is* Quin and you can’t ask for any more than that when it comes to a books narrator.

THE REMEDY was a total emotional roller-coaster ride for me and just when I thought I had things all figured out Young would toss in some new fact or detail to totally surprise me. THE REMEDY left me in awe an amazement and I just don’t understand when everyone isn’t totally buzzing about this story. Its realistic and stunningly written and I love trying to find all the connections between THE REMEDY and THE PROGRAM. Its a book that can be read independently of the other series but I think it just becomes all the richer for reading in the order that it was written in. THE REMEDY is one of the best books that I’ve read so far this year and I can not wait to see where Young goes with this series next.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Remedy

Add Altered by Jennifer Rush to Goodreads (Click here for my review.)

Add The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

five-stars
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