Book Stop – A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
January 29th 2019

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

Series: A Curse So Dark and Lonely #1

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I did not read the blurb before reading this book. I just saw a lot of hype and jumped right in, so for me it was exciting when I discovered it was a retelling if Beauty and the Beast. I really like how the author made the retelling both obvious and original at the same time, reinventing many of the concepts but keeping the main points recognizable! It was good! Indeed it was!

Our FMC Harper, is kidnapped during a botched rescue attempt in which she was trying to prevent the mapper from grabbing a different woman. Once grabbed she is “whisked” away to a world of impossibilities. I will say that the “denial” phase was starting to get a little old, but the author did finally move on. Super hostile to her kidnappers, she isn’t taking any crap from any one. Rhen our MMC lives a cursed season, over and over again until his beast form overcomes him. He has long since given up hope that someone could fall in “real” love with him…and this may be his last chance. Thrown together Rhen and Harper decide to team up for a cause greater than Rhen’s curse, the saving of his kingdom that has long been neglected due to his beasts actions. An invader has begun conquering and terrorizing the people and Harper isn’t having it. I think that the most mind blowing thought that has stuck with me in this story is how the author has Harper point out to the beast that yes he has had all these attempts to make all these women fall in love with him.. but at which point was he ever willing to fall in love back? Never.. so he hadn’t ever really changed because once again he was just trying to get what he needed and not give love in return! 🤯. Never looked at it from that exact perspective before. I mean it was obvious that even in the Disney version the beast falls in love with the girl but it never occurred to me that in this version the reason no one had fallen for him is that he wasn’t willing to give of himself and in essence hadn’t learned his lesson…

In this story the FMC has a really mild form of Cerebral Palsy. The author did not elaborate on this illness and barely even called any attention to it. I’m not sure if I loved that fact or if I was irritated by it. Cerebral Palsy has such a wide range of symptoms varying in severity. Without more details on the actual character’s symptoms we can’t even form an accurate opinion on how it effected her during all her trials which bummed me because I feel like it lessened her greatness and at the same time it was almost like the author was intentionally not trying to call attention to her illness so that no preconceived notions could be formed, and Harper couldn’t be pigeon holed into greatness “because” she overcame an illness. The book portrays Harper as great because she is just a Bad A FMC, not because she had to overcome her trials *and* a disability. I understand that. Either way this had no real effect on my enjoyment of the story, I just personally would have liked to know more about our character’s CP.

I loved the retelling and am definitely intrigued on what direction the next book will take!

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Book Stop – ARC Review – The Warrior by Sarah Fine

The Warrior by Sarah Fine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: 47 North

Expected Publication: March 26, 2019

Series: The Immortal Dealers #3

Genre: Fantasy

Requested and received an ARC of this via NetGalley and the Publisher 47 North in exchange for an honest review

3.5 Stars rounded up to 4. I rounded up because as a whole the series was pretty good. I think with this series I have had a little expectation versus reality come to Jesus. What kept me from full out 4ing the book rather than just rounding up, was the fact that in every book since the epicness of book one, I have been pulling for Ernie to become a real Bad A. Have you ever just really wanted something for someone so badly, only to be disappointed when they don’t live up to the expectations you have set for them? Is it really their fault? Honestly, I have wanted it so bad for her that every time it doesn’t happen I think I loose a little of myself.. Though in this book of the series, Ernie does represent a little better, I find that once again my expectations and desire to see her not only succeed but mop some floor with people were dashed. Even with all the events of the book lining up perfectly, I mean its like she got bit by the dang radioactive spider…. I find that as a whole I was underwhelmed by her again. The story itself is so great and so original. I still get Yu-Gi-oH flashbacks a little.

This 3rd book in the series here picks up right about where book 2 left off. Ernie and her not so allied “allies” are now dealing with their new forager who seems to have some pretty benevolent plans for each of the dealers. That is until they realize this new forager just specializes in manipulation and each of the dealers are just a playing piece in her game of death, destruction, and power. As Ernie once again begs and pleads for everyone to work together, because lets face it ya’ll she just doesn’t quite cut the mustard by herself, she gets the cold shoulder left and right because of the disasters of book 2. Finding the sunrise relic, like the last forager warned her to do, Ernie unlocks a whole new mess upon herself and her friends. A mess of powers left over from a previous forager. Needing her help to explain what is happening to her and her friends they turn toward this remnant of an forager, Phoebe, for help. Phoebe, seems to be the answer to their prayers, benevolent, kind, helpful… but her long game may just put all the dealers in an even worse mess and its up to Ernie and her friends to actually team up for a change to make a difference in the way things are done!

I feel like my review is coming off a little Ernie hater-aideish.. that’s not the case, I like Ernie.. I just wanted more from her and find that she just never quite lived up to my expectations of her. I’m now left wondering what is in store for this group! Surely we aren’t at the end of the story.. maybe just the end of this leg in the journey? I would love to see more from this world with its interesting magic concepts. Maybe pit our dealers against some new enemy? Either way I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more from this author in the future!
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Book Stop – Kindle Unlimited Binge Cont. – The Ugly(ish)

It never fails that eventually we aren’t going to like a book. I wonder, at times, how authors deal with just plain ole meh reviews, not the raving types but the 2 star reviews? How many authors really take into consideration what those people say for their next books? I like to be honest about how I feel about books with the intention not to hurt anyone’s feelings but to throw out my own feelings and maybe help an author or reader in the future. Full disclosure, I’ve been reading some things that are not necessarily popping up on my recommended for a Goodreads description challenge so that may be why I’m running train through some not so enjoyable reads. That being said I’ve come across a couple books this past week that just weren’t for me. They have some good reviews, so evidently they are for someone but apparently my door swings a different way.

The Deadly Game by G. Bailey and Coralee June

The Deadly Game by G. Bailey and Coralee June

Published: October 31st 2018

Genre: RH, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If this wasn’t one of the shortest books I’ve ever read then I might have DNf’d it. What is sad is that the book has one of the more interesting premises but was so insanely rushed that it couldn’t have even begun to be developed. It was a skeleton of what it could be.. which oddly seems a little fitting with the cover. Either way I felt we were left with the bones of what could have been something great. For those of you new to G. Bailey’s work.. this is not the norm, though she writes fast paced books often its not usually this fast paced. There is no world building, we are just thrown in here willy nilly, sink or swim. There isn’t really any backstory other than thrown in tidbits to try and fill some holes here and there. There was no time for character development or even for the story to fully develop into anything, however, smut… there was plenty of that, and sappy insta love with no real adversity.

Thrown into the middle of this game.. with no real backstory of how the game actually started.. apparently humans are captured and forced to participate for witches who want to have a few minutes contact with the dead. This game can be deadly and requires great sacrifice on the human’s behalf… Mila our FMC is saved from one group of witches only to be used by another, one of which happens to be some random guy she went to grade school with.. who she doesn’t even remember.. even though hes apparently her soul mate… The Hex coven, 3 brothers, decide to use Mila to win the games in order to summon their brother to identify his killer so they can get revenge. A super rushed tiny adventure with lots of smut and no real depth ensues..4

Luckily it is a fast read.. so .. there is that.. This is also a standalone so what you see is what you get. If your looking for some explanations then your looking for too much…

This review came off a little harsh.. but in no way did it color my feelings for these authors. I read a lot of G. Baileys books when I come across them on my KU recommended feed so I’m not quite sure what happened here but doesn’t effect whether I’ll pick up her next book!
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Silk and Steel by Ariana Nash and Pippa DaCosta

Silk & Steel by Ariana Nash and Pippa DaCosta

Publisher: Crazy Ace Publishing

Published: January 18th 2019

Series: Silk and Steel #1

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was not prepared for this, I didn’t read the blurb before starting this book, that was my bad. About 10% in, I had to take a breather and go back and read it. I have to be honest though, the blurb is a tad misleading. It gives the idea that there is some story here, but I could barely find it amidst the smut. The whole book had some Anne Rice “Sleeping Beauty” vibes, but with way less consensualness… pretty sure that is not a word but I’m just going to roll with it. I was also very unprepared for the venom with which the certain races viewed our male characters and their sexual preferences. Maybe the author was trying to draw attention to it, like calling attention to it in real life? I don’t know it just didn’t set well with me, and it was never resolved which made me even further uncomfortable. The blurb is the backstory and the world building here. Once you start your thrown in..

Our main characters are Lysander – prince of dragons, chained by his roll in the amethyst dragon society, and constantly belittled and insulted by his oh so very evil and messed up mother the queen, for being “broken” because he is only attracted to guys. Eroan, elf assassin of the order, come to murder the queen but is stopped by Lysander and ends up becoming a prisoner and tortured mercilessly at the queens whim. The queen uses Eroan to get Lysander to be more cooperative in her schemes to use him, basically as a brood mare, that is up until she pushes Lysander too far and he snaps. This causes chaos in the amethyst kingdom as well as allowing Eroan to escape with secrets to defeat the dragons.. Lysander must flee to a different dragon kingdom or face the wrath of his people, but turns out its just as bad.. Eroan journeys to make alliances to bring down all of dragon kind and end the age of dragons..

Truth be told here there just wasn’t really, hardly any story.. The characters were never truly developed enough for me to actually become involved with them.. I’m not even sure I ever really felt “sorry” for them.. which is kind of frightening considering what they go through.. some of it is pretty horrific. There was just a lot of smut, and anger, and shame, and it was just kind of sad I think. I did discover after reading it that there is a preceding Novella that might have a little more info in it to start a reader off. So if your interesting in reading this you might look for that first.
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Heart of the Goblin King by Lisa Manifold

Heart Of The Goblin King by Lisa Manifold

Publisher: OTI Press

Published: June 15th 2016

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Series: Realm #1

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1.5ish rounded up to 2. I am not even sure where to start this.. Ok, for this entire book it was like an outline was laid out with certain plot points the author wanted to hit. These plot points in themselves weren’t a problem whatsoever, and would probably have made a decent story, if not for the stuff between them. The “journey” or “meat” of the story for instance: the dialogue, backstory, world building, character depth, DETAILS… These things get you from one plot point to the next, tiny little details that push you in the direction you need to go to reach the next point. I felt like these were all almost afterthoughts.. Where the author suddenly realized that her story wasn’t where it needed to be to hit the next point so she just threw something in to hurry it on its way.. It was quite jarring, incredibly convenient, horribly obvious and kind of sloppy.

Lets start out with our FMC Iris. Iris is apparently college age, however acts like a spoiled 10? year old. So much so that she actually throws a tantrum, in the story. For realz. That’s about it on that front. Brennan honestly we don’t really see much of him unless he is in the middle of a temper tantrum as well.. and then mostly he storms off. I feel like these characters had absolutely no chemistry nor were there any interactions to convey to the reader that these characters had any feelings for each other, other than some vague referencing and denials.. I really believe that in the author’s mind the chemistry was there but it just never made it to the page, so the reader was like ummm what?

The “mystery” of the story, who is attacking Brennan.. was very poorly executed. The attacks happen, no one finds any real clues, the dragon kingdom may or may not have something to do with it BAM the culprit identifies himself via note in an area of the castle having nothing to do with anyone or the story, nor is there ever even a real motive given… The most anticlimactic ending after a very poorly done reveal.

During all this above.. we have characters whose dialogues all seem a little forced being pushed in the direction of the next plot point. Almost like they are just filling space on the page not really saying anything significant and then all of a sudden saying one thing to push us on to the next scene. It wasn’t hard to get through, it just seemed a little juvenile.. maybe? The book itself was super short and not hard… at all to follow. It just wasn’t…. yea it just wasn’t for me I guess. That is all…
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Well there you have it. A couple books that just weren’t my jam and why. When I wrote these reviews I wasn’t ranting and raving or anything though I can go there just like everyone else. I will say that I buddy read all of these with a friend and she had different opinions than me on one of the books. It just goes to show you that just because I might have a negative opinion or something caught and rubbed me wrong doesn’t mean it will everyone else! So if you decide to grab these off KU, Happy Reading and feel free to let me know what you think maybe it will open me up to a new experience!

Book Stop – Kindle Unlimited Binge Review Week – The Goods

I’ve been on a binge through Kindle Unlimited these last couple of weeks and I’m finding that it is really hit or miss most of the time. I’ve noticed KU getting some new stuff lately and I’ve definitely found some diamonds in the rough. Here are a couple of the really good ones!

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: November 15th 2011

Series: Shatter Me #1

Genre: YA, Romance, Fantasy, Scifi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whew, this book was a pretty intense start to the series! I was engrossed from the very beginning. I think the writing style was so impactful and dramatic, it was almost impossible to turn my gaze away! We do have a very slow revealing backstory but answers are coming so I never felt cheated or too terribly lost, but I am an impatient person.. I did feel that super young teeny angst, but it really didn’t bother me in this book like it does in others. I just feel like so much is going on, its hard to know where everyone stands especially when we don’t yet have all the information. I did like how the FMC, Juliette stayed true to her character throughout, there was no meekness to Bad A right off the bad. She didn’t turn vengeful or harden herself despite all of what is being done to her.

Set in an apocalyptic/dystopian type setting our FMC, Juliette has been imprisoned in a mental institute for a really long time now. Thrown in for being “different,” her touch being her very own kryptonite. Days fade into weeks into months and so on, until one day her routine is changed forever when they throw in a roommate, a boy, Adam. She remembers Adam, from before her imprisonment. Just as she starts to grow closer to Adam, she is taken from her prison cell, to be used by a monster who wants her ability, her touch. It turns out Adam has his own secrets, surprisingly Adam is also maybe the only person immune to her ability. Danger lurks everywhere as her captor becomes increasingly erratic and obsessive where she is concerned. Together her and Adam attempt to escape… but where is there to go where they cannot be found? Is there hope for a better life out there? What has the world become while she has been locked away with her tiny window.

I honestly wanted to dive right into book 2. I can’t wait to see where this series is headed! Now I feel like the real story is about to begin and I hope we continue to get some backstory and answers along the way!
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Verity by Colleen Hoover

Verity by Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Hoover Ink, Inc

Published: December 7th 2018

Genre: Romance, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book kind of blew me away! Twisted and creeptastic ride into imagined self absorption and sociopathy. I was expecting romance.. I was not expecting this gut wrenching, horror/suspense and the bone chilling confessions revealed in this book. I was so intrigued and at the same time disturbed and horrified out I just couldn’t stop reading, all the while peeking through fingers because I didn’t want to see anymore. I felt such a wide range of emotions so quickly I was catching some whiplash from my own mood swings. Afterwards I felt rode hard and put up wet.. and well basically speechless lol, sitting there in my shock.

Introvert writer and FMC, Lowen, is recovering from her mother’s death when on her first day out she witness a gruesome pedestrian vs car accident. Helped by a handsome stranger they speak and have a heart wrenching moment where they each confess their tragedy’s, his being the loss of his daughter, before going their separate ways only to amazingly meet up later in a meeting where Jeremy wants to hire Lowen to “co-write” and finish a series of books that his wife, also an author, started and is unable to finish due to a car accident. Against her better judgement she takes the job and journeys to their home to dig through “Verity’s” office and start her work. Upon arriving she sees a family on the edge of madness and despair, Verity needing 24 hour care, unable to move, speak, or interact at all with her environment. Jeremy barely handling his depression over his 2 lost daughters, and his remaining son Crew caught up in their tragic life. All is not what it seems however, this is truly a house of horrors. As things begin happening that make Low start to doubt that Verity is actually in the condition she seems to be in, she begins reading Verity’s “autobiography” and discovers some horrifying details about the authors past, as well as her relationship with Jeremy. At the same time she experiences this weird envy to be her. As details begin unfolding the terrifying truth comes to light, but her heart is already set on another woman’s husband… But what is truth and what is lies.. and is anyone really a good guy? What will you choose to believe in the end.

This book got me all kinds of twisted by the end and then chewed me, tied me and spit me out! Such a great read, though intensely nerve racking!
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I am always looking for KU ideas so feel free to send some recommendations my way or tell where to steer clear!! Thanks for stopping by!

Book Stop: ARC Review: Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Shadesilk Press

Published: August 8, 2010

Series: Vivatera #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy

2.5 stars rounded up here. Whew, this book is sitting on what I feel is a mountain of potential with the plot concept/premise. Unfortunately for me the way it was executed really put a damper on all that potential. The main problem, for me, is that all the backstory and world building actually occur at the end of the book, almost like an afterthought. Throughout most of the book I was agonizing over the lack of backstory and world building, thinking this must be a spin off of sorts.. I checked twice to make sure it was actually the first in the series. Even if an author wants to do a slow reveal on word building and backstory and maybe keep certain things to the end as a mystery there has to be something in the beginning alluding to the fact that eventually we might get some answers. There were also several instances where climactic parts of the story would vaguely end without much detail and cut to another chapter. I personally obviously like details and explanations of how things have occurred.

These things in particular needed to be at the beginning.. or at least hinted about, and revealed throughout the plot: A hint of or the actual prophecy at the beginning of the book, or at least a description of the different races so we know what they are throughout the book, that way when they do something “different” it makes some sense, or explaining vaguely towards the beginning.. maybe in a prologue or something the events that have lead us to now, like the old kings history, or the history of how the magic came to be in this world, or the history of the stones themselves…. Not having this information really hurt the plot in my opinion because it took away from the actual story which was really interesting and could have been riveting.

We have some really abrupt insta love in this story. That isn’t really my thing but I can get on board if it seems to have some sort of foundation but here it really didn’t have enough of anything. It was a tad jarring even where it popped up in the story, it seemed to be necessary for Naomi to exit camp but not for Reynolds? Either way, I feel like there should have been more prior to the proclamation.. like maybe a recognition, or maybe even dreaming about a boy hero.. or something.

That all being said.. There was enough explanations at the very end of the book to answer most of the questions I had and to ease some of my anxiety and frustration. I am sad at where the book ended, things were just starting to make sense and we come to an abrupt end just as I started to feel we were actually getting somewhere. I am torn between wanting to see what will happen next for these characters and not wanting to put myself through it..

Received a copy via NetGalley and the Publisher Shadesilk Press in exchange for an honest review.
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Book Stop: ARC Review: The Stone’s Heart by Jessica Thorne

The Stone’s Heart by Jessica Thorne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Bookouture

Published: January 19, 2019

Series: The Queen’s Wing #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Scifi, Romance

I requested and received an AR copy of this book via NetGalley and the publisher Bookouture for reviewing purposes. Many thanks for allowing me to read and review this work!

I must be honest. I did not read the blurb for this book before requesting it. Having read the first in the series I jumped at the chance to further explore the world. That being said it kind of threw me when I realized that though Bel and Con are present in this new adventure the book was more a continuation of the world with new character’s story brought to the forefront. In my opinion this book could probably stand alone, but having read the first one did add some enrichment, and backstory in. I love that we got some minor continuation of Bel and Con’s story but at the same time a whole new set of circumstances for our characters here.

Our FMC in this story is Petra, who after the last book and her efforts has been promoted to general for Bel and Con’s military. Bel and Con still preparing for wedding attempt #2. Petra is tasked with guarding Zander, Bel’s brother, while visiting for their wedding. Petra and Zander have some history which is brought to light. Zander arrives from the Empire, followed closely by Lord Teel, one of the Empress’s most favorite courtiers, and company. Turns out Zander may be on the run from the Empress’s plots and schemes and interestingly enough to Con, ever the nerd <3, the Empress has some technology and mecha they are somewhat familiar with. As Petra becomes more involved trying to protect Zander not only from the Empress’s schemes but also from her own past, Lord Teel manages to wheedle his way in. As if all this isn’t enough an old foe of Anthaese long since buried, has reawakened and is now claiming vengeance in the form of a religious uprising. We really got to learn even more about Anthaese’s history in this story and we get to see more of our “dragons” as well as some set up for further dragons.

I felt that the story itself was good and very enjoyable combining the magic of the world with the scifi tech. What kept me from loving it, I think, was the new characters I think. I think it was the lack of diversity of personalities and a lack of depth, neither Petra nor Zander are incredible or stand out really. There was just a lack of passion and intensity throughout the whole story that I think would have been very emotion provoking had it been present. The action and adventure were there, but it was just a little superficial failing to really grasp me and keep me invested even during the most climactic parts. I think that if the author had played up Petra, Zander and even Teel’s characters more and made them deeper it would have had a stunning effect. Even Bel and Con didn’t suck me in quite like in the first story. Where I would have experienced such profound heartbreak and even horror during certain parts of this story, it just didn’t really hit me emotionally like the scenes should have.

I really like this world and look forward to seeing what the story has for us next, however I would really like to see some passion, and intensity in the characters in the next story. Make me really feel it.
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Book Stop: Freebie Friday: Library Hookup Reviews!

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Published: January 17th 2017

Series: Carve the Mark #1

Genre: YA, Fantasy, SciFi

I need to start off by saying that Veronica Roth broke my heart once before so I’ve been avoiding her work whilst taking time to stitch myself back together. I rarely if ever read reviews before I try a book… sometimes I may have to pause the book to go read some reviews especially if I feel like I have a really harsh criticism just to see if it is just me.. In this books case, however, I read the reviews before hand and was set up to force myself to finish it.. but I was so surprised. I had no problem staying super engrossed in the story which moved at a pretty decent pace in comparison to other things I have read. In fact I really liked it. There are parts of the book that seem pretty hopeless and in a lot of books that will bring me down to the point where I start to dislike them but the characters resilience, and determination really made up for those times I thought. The only problems I really had was the lack of backstory really about the worlds and this war that seems to be playing out.. this universe? controlled by this “current,” is pretty complex and it would seem like it has a really rich backstory especially between the people I would have liked a little more of that. I also saw a lot of reviews about the racial connotations and I am embarrassed to say that I read those reviews before hand and completely forgot all about it during the story and it never occurred to me that was going on so I don’t really feel its as “obvious” as they made it seem… either that or I’m just oblivious lol.

The concept we start out with in this story is that every person has a future, but only some have fates. Fates basically being a prophesied future that cannot be changed. What they never stress or tell you is that they can be interpreted a million ways of course…. like all prophecies but no one is supposed to know their “fate” until after death. People, also still have some sort of choices almost like their personality or decisions would effect out the wording on the “fate” is interpreted by life itself. Our MMC Akos and our FMC Cyra come from opposite sides of “the divide.” Akos from a Thuvhe family, 3rd son of the Oracle. Going about his happy life but his mother always hinting at some greater purpose, with a sad demeanor. Up until the day comes where fates were read aloud and his world was turned upside down by the Shotet people, his father murdered and him and his brother kidnapped. Cyra, the daughter of the Shotet King, is cursed by her “currentgift” to always feel and cause pain becomes a tool for her evil elder brother who is determined to conquer his fate and not fall to the Thuvhe ruling family. Ryz her brother has lost his humanity it seems in his desperate attempts to control his people and thwart fate itself. Cyra and Akos are thrown together him being the respite to her curse, but things aren’t exactly what they seem in this world, nor do we honestly know who the real enemy is….

We still have alot of questions plot wise, and some serious intrigue going on here… I have my theories but I don’t want to give any spoilers. One thing is for sure Veronica Roth has no problem killing off some characters… This book was completely engaging for me, nerve racking as well. We are left with a big reveal cliffhanger.. love those (insert sarcasm) lol. Can’t wait to see where this is headed.

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Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

Lady Smoke by Laura Sebastian

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: Delacorte Press

Publisher: February 5th 2019

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #2

Genre: YA, Fantasy

Such a great continuation of the series. This book picks up right where we left off in book 1. I feel like we are starting to get more and more information about the magic in this world but I think we have only touched the surface. For the most part, I feel like Theo is finally growing up, she is still impulsive and arrogant but she has tempered it with people to care for. What kept me from giving this book 5 stars was that the plot line seemed to drag on at certain parts and during that time there didn’t seem to be anything plot related going on.. almost like we are plotting along and ….squirrel. I get the reasons behind why they start their journey by visiting another land to collect allies but the time spent there almost seemed wasted. We did finally get to point B from point A and I say almost wasted because we did learn some things but it was a long drive.

Theo and her entourage journey to Sta’Crivero, where the King has collected suitors from all the lands to meet with Theo so she can choose a husband best suited to her needs. Since her desire is an army to boot the Kaiser out of Astrea this is her main concern. Little does she know, the scheezy king is basically auctioning her off to the highest bidder and not all the bidders are there to play fair. During their stay they visit the refugee camp and come to the realization that just because they aren’t slaves like in Astrea their quality of life is almost as bad. I love loved Theo and Soren’s relationship in this book.. Its like they cleared the air and from that point on they were completely honest with each other.. no games. It was refreshing. When suitor’s Theo shows interest in start dying, and Soren is implicated, Theo becomes desperate to both save her people and finally escape the Kaiser’s clutches all the while trying to avoid the clutches of someone just as bad. With a not so great plan, and her desperate people at her back Theo finally gets to make a choice of a queen.. her or her kingdom. The surprising part is the person giving her the choice…..and how it turns out.

I can’t believe that we are left with that ending and now have to wait till 2020 for some closure!! Here is to hoping Theo really brings it in the next book! Im also wondering if the next book will pickup right where we left off here… or if some time will have passed due to some circumstances… Uggghhh so far away!!!

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Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Published: Henry Holt and Company

Publisher:  June 17th 2014

Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3Grishaverse #3

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance

My excitement for this series has been slowly tapering off as things drag on… I’m not sure what is throwing me off. Maybe its the role confusion here? The bad guys just aren’t bad enough and the good guys just aren’t that good maybe? Or maybe its just Alina.. I had been hoping across the series to finally click with her but she is just so hard to lock down. One minute she is funny and sassy, the next minute she is morose and selfish, and every now and then a burst of self confidence comes out of no where. Its like no matter how much training she has, or how many times a chapter ends with her gaining some conviction from somewhere she is always just freaking wingin’ it. If I had to say anything she just isn’t heroine material… I feel like the story was being led by a side character and I kept waiting on her to truly step up into her destiny or this “Aha” moment but really even with all the events that happened when the story ended… There she was just ordinary… Its like the Shakespeare saying:

” Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” but in this case the character was like “oh Heck no”… lol.

We start right where book 2 left off. Alina and her “sun” followers along with her loyal Grisha gang are trapped underground, while the Apparat tries to play his leadership games. Alina is left without all her powers after her last run in with the Darkling, and she is desperate for some sort of hope of beating him so they set off to find the last amplifier. The “real” light of this book and the book before it, Nikolai, catches up with them and they head off to rally their allies. Betrayal from in their midst, leads them straight to the Darkling and yet another battle ensues in which mother and son must face off while Alina goes in search of the 3rd amplifier. We got more and more backstory on the amplifiers themselves and the man who first had the idea for them. As Alina continue’s her journey it becomes increasingly obvious that not only does she not want what seems to be her destiny but she is almost desperately trying to put off making any decisions or committing herself while she grasps for what she truly wants. As warnings catch up to her Alina realizes that the she will need the 3rd amplifier to defeat the darkness and the fold but the cost is just too much….

I really liked the plot twist at the end, but where, in the 2nd book, it seems like Alina is embracing her awesomeness and her destiny, it just isn’t happening she is back and forth giving me the whiplash. Also, I do feel like the ending was a little abrupt, like we really didn’t get to see the effects of their journey really. I think all in all it was a good series but it was not what I would call epic. I am super excited though, to read Nikolai’s story because he has been my favorite from his first scene!

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Book Stop – Why Choose Valentine, rating: R of course!

Next year during February I will definitely put on my calendar to devote the month to the reverse harem revolution lol. I wish I had thought of it sooner. As we close in towards Valentine’s day I see myself leaning way more towards the romance section of my TBR and find myself rereading past loves.

Crimes of Cupidity by Raven Kennedy

Crimes of Cupidity: A Fantasy Reverse Harem Story by Raven Kennedy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Published: January 31, 2019

Series: Heart Hassle #3

Genre: RH, Romance, Fantasy

“Now, pull on your big girl panties and ovary-it up. We’re mates, and we have a war to win.” 

Coffee Mug Material!

Ridiculousness to the max! Our favorite cupid Emelle’s mess continues as she desperately tries to grab herself a tiny piece..ahem of happily ever after of course, and the cure for all that ails her is a little vitamin “D”! It is amazing to me how Raven Kennedy keeps the raunchy humor going full force and still keeps a captivating story moving along in its madness! I’m pretty sure she is my idle! I am also pretty sure that I have highlighted a million one liners from this book to put on coffee mugs to brighten my day! I want to say I’m too mature to laugh at the ridiculousness but I’d be lying.. I’m pretty sure at one point I had coffee spew from my nose.. I may now have a sinus infection…

“Emelle’d,” Evert explains. “It’s when someone gets struck silent from the crazy ass words that come out of your mouth.”

Emelle finds herself sucked back to cupidville to face the consequences of her lack of cupid skills but in a twist she winds up being “boss bitch.” “Whoops.” Even still, the cooperate life isn’t for her so back to the fae world to find her yummy mates, but something is wrong. She has been gone longer than expected and their whole plan has been ruined. The princess is captured, the evil Prince is gaining ground, and Okot… our precious “beloved” doesn’t even recognize us other than as the enemy… Not to mention Ronark has gone feral and seems to need to be house broken. I just couldn’t even with this! I was dying…. Even the “Horney Hooker” isn’t safe from the love arrows in this book. Luckily he just might get his “shot” in the next series..

I watch as Ronak gyrates his hips a bit, and I narrow my eyes. Is he…? Yep. He’s drawing a dick on the carpet with his urine. A piss dick pic. It’s actually kind of impressive.

Once again a thoroughly entertaining read with the randomness continuing and the quest for love never ending!
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Dirty Alphas by Alexa B. James and Angelina Avery

Dirty Alphas: A Reverse Harem Urban Fantasy Romance by Alexa B. James and Angelina Avery

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Indep Published

Published: December 14, 2018

Genre: RH, Fantasy, Paranormal

Whaaaaattttt! 3.5ish almost just rounded it up… l have to be legit honest, I accidentally downloaded this of KU.. like it was for real an accident and I went immediately to correct my mistake and find something to download in its place when I started to feel guilty for not giving it a chance. Let me first say, I’m not a fan of the cover, to me, it looks a tad on the cheesy side. Reverse harems are hit or miss with me. I find it amazing that author’s even attempt them, I mean it must be difficult to create chemistry between 2 characters let alone between 2+ characters and give them all some sort of dynamic all the while trying to make a story take place. There in lies the problem for most RHN I give a try.. the story gets lost in a bunch of eye rolling smut.. most of the time. Also, I find it hard to believe that a woman would want to take on more than one dude.. permanently lol. I mean realistically…that’s all the more dishes, laundry everywhere, shavings in the sink…. but its fantasy.. so I roll with it lol.

This book was surprisingly good, I did feel like there was quite a few plot holes, and some confusion on the world building that kept me from absolutely loving it but the story was prominent not the smut which is hands down a winner for me in the RH genre. So the blurb itself gave us more backstory and world building than the actual story did.. I almost felt like this was a sequel or a spin off or something, and it also didn’t feel like the story was over though this episode concluded pretty nicely. The book also started us off in a really confusing situation with no preparation and it didn’t go on to explain said situation till much later in the book.

Scarlet our FMC, starts of seemingly kidnapped by a madman, Jacob Knight, not only is he a madman but he is the alpha of her wolf shifter pack. He wants to force her and her wolf to submit to him after forcing her into marriage all the while holding her family hostage. During their tussle Scarlet is gravely injured and though as a human she works out a deal that in exchange for her family’s freedom, her wolf refuses to submit and rips out his throat. Her father runs in seeing what has happened and that pack alpha has transferred to Scarlet, but they know they are in trouble because it wasn’t won legally through challenge. There was no in depth preparation or backstory explaining the laws governing the shifters and magical creatures.. which was a little confusing. So Dad and Scarlet hide it and Dad poses as Alpha so Scarlet can have a normal life, all the while Scarlet must keep her wolf hidden so no one notices it is an alpha… Until a year later when Scarlet must return to the pack because Dad can no longer keep up the pretense with Scarlet so far away.. The governing “council” for the wolves have already sent 3 alphas of their own to take the pack away to keep it strongly out of Fae grasp, 3 other Knight brothers, who instantly have a connection with Scarlet despite her non dominant status in the pact.. of course Scarlet already is in deep with the Fae her best friend being a Fae prince.. The 3 Knight brothers aren’t the only ones skulking around however, someone else is out to get Scarlet, someone very dangerous…

It was a pretty enjoyable read for me and I flew through the book really despite all the holes. I dodged them pretty well and just kept on going. I am left wondering about all the possibilities… kind of wish there was more to answer all my questions.
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Gypsy Freak by Kristy Cunning

Gypsy Freak by Kristy Cunning

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Indep.

Published: January 4, 2019

Series: All The Pretty Monsters #2

Genre: RH, Paranormal, Fantasy

2.5 stars.. rounded up… grudgingly. I was super excited to get in to this book after enjoying the first one so much.. Unfortunately if it wasn’t for the last 25% of this book I would have given up on this series completely! For at least the first 35% it was written so random, and with absolutely no cohesion what so ever that I was constantly going back to reread things just because I couldn’t even figure out whose viewpoint I was in.. I was so lost. Not only all that, but Anna… wtf. Your going to go and take my most favorite sister from another mister out of this story… I don’t even know… Finally after 75% of the book the author finally starts making sense.. and it wasn’t like things just came to light that made the whole book make sense, it was like the writing started actually making a cohesive picture and I was finally able to get into the story. Book 2 was just a train wreck until 75%.. in fact if I were to do it over again, I might just read book 1, the last 25% of book 2 and then jump right into book 3 because I don’t even think the reader would actually miss anything doing it this way..

So at 75% all the bickering, and long winded explanations that don’t actually explain anything, as well as all the vague posturing, and petty disputes over Violet, and mind games that play at being clever but are actually just quite annoying stop.. for the most part, and we really start getting some answers. After fighting between the wolves and vampires because of Arion coming out early escalate, and groups of wolves are found dead, Violet finds herself caught in the middle. Emit is then captured and as the perpetrators come forward and reveal their plans.. Violet demonstrates her ..”resilience” as well as why she should never, ever, panic.

I’m really hoping book 3 starts out where book 2 leaves off and we don’t have to go through this mess again and we can really get some answers. Crossing my fingers..

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Gypsy Origins by Kristy Cunning

Gypsy Origins by Kristy Cunning

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Indep

Published: January 25, 2019

Series: All The Pretty Monsters #3

Genre: RH, Fantasy, Paranormal

Ok, so this book was in fact much, much better than book 2, however, I feel like now we have entered into one of those stories where random things are thrown in to cover up the plot holes, and now the story is just kind of way out there and seems like it is going to go on for freaking ever…. Yea its a travesty because I really felt like we were working with something great but it is now kind of all over the place for me, and Anna is still gone…. In all actuality, even though now we know a lot more about the situation, it took basically the whole book while we watched each characters individual reactions to the information.. and of course the bickering continues. *eye roll. I can’t help but feel like we are getting tiny snippets of story and a whole lot of useless filler… Progressing at a slow roll most of the time.

The other problem for me, is unfortunately Violet just really isn’t the most like able character. She is just meh for me, so the dragging it out is not helping, and its like the author is trying to force some humor or something on her and it is just awkward. I don’t know the pieces just aren’t fitting together very well and its like they just decided to hammer them in and roll with it.

So…. in short.. there were a couple of reveals.. that took the entire book to finally make it around to everyone… Violet has decided the to bring back the witch.. and then bam cliffhanger and a supposed threat from someone who is supposed to be dead? At least that is where I’m at.

In truth it was better than book 2, in that it at least made some kind of sense, but I’m not about this dragging stuff out forever. I like to feel like we got somewhere after reading like 400 pages.. just saying. I don’t know whether to be on the lookout for book 4 or not.. might wait till books 5-10 come out just in case I need to skip a few to get to the end *wink.
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Book Stop – Rainy Day Binge

I’m not sure if everyone has this problem but I seem to be able to read way faster than I can review. Truthfully, I try to write detailed reviews and sometimes by the end of a reading binge the reviews start either looking the same or go off on a tired giggle rant… What are some secrets that you more experienced bloggers use to keep yourself focused and keep up with the ever growing pile of read books that still need stars beside them?

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Vicious (Villains, #1)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: Tor Books

Published: September 24, 2013

Series: Villains #1

I’m not sure I have ever read anything like this. This book was both creepy with a sociopathic/psycho vibe.. and at the same time super engaging and all consuming. I feel like the Impassive voice of the writer made it all the more compelling. There were no good guys…. just a groups of antagonists in an all out brawl being pushed by some fanatic type notions driving them onward.. I found myself spending the entire book trying to justify and make excuses for one character or another in a desperate attempt to make a “good guy” out of at least one of them. The back and forth jumping through time answering questions almost as soon as I thought to ask them and revealing the plot in an almost genius way. I felt like for most of the story like I was running through a never ending hallway each door on the side revealing new things, new characters, new powers and at the same time I was striving to get to the present to find out the ending. An odd concept in itself striving to get to the now to find out the end…

Victor and Eli, the ultimate frenemies, start their journey in college 10 years ago with 2 thesis ideas which correlate. Victor wanting to study the effects of adrenaline and fight/flight type mechanisms and Eli wanting to study EOs or “Extra Ordinarys”, people with unexplained abilities caused by certain experiences.. Teaming up they discover a tried and true formula after some trial and error.. costly error.. and at the same time lose something intrinsic to human nature. Years later, after some ultimate betrayals by both Victor and Eli their battle comes to a head in a game where there are no heroes.. only villains. In all realness this is one of the hardest plots to describe without giving some stuff away.

I am not sure that I ever really liked any of the characters, but I think that was one of the points lol.
I can’t wait to start the next book if only for the fact that I want to see what other EO “super powers” are out there. Great, entertaining and nerve shredding read!
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The Falconer by Elizabeth May

The Falconer (The Falconer, #1)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Published: September 19, 2013

Series: The Falconer #1

This was a decent start to the series.. I would say its probably more of a 3.5 star but not a 4 for me. There are multiple things this first book has going for it. The story is both original and captivating. It has a steampunk flare that really went well with the whole fantasy fae magic. The characters seemed well rounded and at the same time maintaining a huge air of mystery and the chemistry between our FMC, Aileana Kameron, aka Kam and her “trainer” Kieran was off the charts…. /face fanning. I will say that I did think our FMC a tad on the selfish/immature side, she was also very impulsive diving into situations without thinking, luckily she was bad A enough to dig her way out.

Aileana Kameron lives for vengeance. Since the moment she saw her mother brutally murdered by a fae she has wanted nothing but revenge. Found standing over her mothers dead body covered in blood by her father, her life hasn’t been the same. The whispers of murderer follow her everywhere and her father has almost written her off since. Now years later she has owned her title.. but not in the way the whisperers think. Kam with her ability to sense the fae, hunts them down all the while searching for her mothers murderer. Kieran her mysterious fae trainer has taught her how to survive.. but now she is venturing out on her own.. not knowing the danger she faces. Secrets come to light about Kam’s bloodline.. as the monsters turn the hunt on her. Now she is tasked with righting some wrongs and saving her city… but doing that may put her vengeance out of reach and loose her the friends she has made along the way.

I would say that what really kept me from loving this book was the infuriatingly vague plot reveals… clawing answers out a tiny bit at a time and right when I think I have a grasp of where we are headed.. the cliffhanger made me question everything I knew.. I about threw the book across the room.. ok so I didn’t really, but I imagined it for a minute. So, now not only do I have no idea where to stand.. I’m not even left standing I’m left hanging off said cliff not knowing whether to climb up and out or fall into the abyss…
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Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

Even the Darkest Stars (Even the Darkest Stars, #1)

Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher: HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

Published: September 5th 2017

Series: Even the Darkest Stars #1

I have got to say I thought this was a really good start to the series. In fact I was hooked from the first sentence.. though in all honesty, the first sentence really had nothing to do with the rest of the book lol. Just mention some dragon eggs and apparently that’s all it takes for me. I really felt this book was super easy to sink into and I really felt the world building was pretty fantastic. I had no trouble picturing the scenes even having never read anything like this before. The characters for the most part were well rounded to me, seemed pretty relate able, and also seemed to compliment each other pretty well, balancing each other out. One thing I noticed, that threw me, was that events from the past, like centuries ago in the past, seemed sooo.. present? Events from centuries ago are kind of meshed in with events from a decade ago, and eventually it started to run together so much to where I couldn’t give you an honest straight timeline I don’t think. Either way everything seems to be remembered so vividly, like it just happened.. and yet there are legends of this sky city and a lost artifact that no one really knows about… Not sure if anyone else has felt this way but in reality it didn’t actually effect the events of the story, it just threw me here and there….

Kamzin, our FMC, has dreamed of following in her explorer mother’s footsteps since her sister and her followed her mother on her last adventure..across the deadly mountain Raksha. Now why a mother would take her 2 young children around/accross this mountain…. who knows, but after that failed attempt Kamzin and Lusha lost their mother and now they are the last 2 remaining people that know the way up to the mountain. Kamzin has always lived in her mother and brilliant sister Lusha’s shadow and longs for a time when she comes out the winner, the first picked, the most skilled. Famous Explorer River Shara shows up in Kamzin’s village to start of his next adventure and lo and behold he needs a guide for Raksha.. of course he would pick Lusha… Oddly enough Lusha studying the stars to become a seer has some stuff of her own she is trying to figure out and takes off before the journey leaving only Kamzin to lead River. Kamzin must her self esteem issues, her intense desire to prove herself, and her hero worship of River to lead them up the deadly Raksha, finding out some truths that can’t be forgotten and discovering the dangers lurking in her world are much closer than they seemed.

I will say that though the story was pretty captivating, there were lots of times where the plot did seem to move slowly though I really thought the last 15% or so of the book with all the plot twists, betrayals and discoveries made up for it. I’m super excited to continue the story because… I just have to know what is going to happen now… and I’m not at all sure I agree with decisions that have been made…
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Book Stop – ARC: Behesians by Isaiyan Morrison

Behesians by Isaiyan Morrison

Publisher: Self: Isaiyan Morrison

Published: December 6, 2018

Series: ??

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Behesians by Isaiyan Morrison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a hard book to rate. I’m thinking 2.5 stars though I feel like there were certain aspects that I would have rated a 3 so I am going to round it up. There were multiple aspects about the story that I liked. I felt that the whole concept was fresh and had a pretty unique origination explanation but it really lacked some details to make it cohesive. This has the appearance of a standalone novel but this is far from over and must be a book in a series.. and if I’m honest this read like a continuation or spin off of a series. I could not seem to shake the feeling that I fell right off in the middle of some on going story where the details and the world building itself happened long ago. I will say that there was enough information for a reader to make some generalizations or guesses to fill in the blanks so to speak…well most of them I think. What world building and backstory we did get here seemed a little repetitive and the same information was thrown at us again and again but never expanded to answer my questions. The characters told the story of how Vain ended over, and over, and over but we never really found out the entire why? or what was trying to be accomplished, and honestly there was no definitive on the who was responsible, it never honestly came out. I also had issue with several of the concepts of the Behesians having the same problem.. though the book talks about Bridging repeatedly.. and I gathered from the reading its like “mating”.. maybe? The concept was never explained in detail, nor did it seem surprising that Cassidy was bridging with multiple people?

Character wise I felt a disconnect with every character because I didn’t feel like we ever got enough details about any of their stories, or at least enough details for me to really bond with them. This may have to do with the overwhelming amount of character viewpoints. For example the story never went into detail about Darrien, one of our Male MC’s what his and Milan’s, another Male MC story seemed to be because it seemed they were friends at one point, nor why Darrien thinks he can never bridge with someone. The truth is I wasn’t a fan of any of the characters looking back.. Ava especially.. Omg that girl went on and on and on with her anger and grudges, hate, and total selfishness. I couldn’t stand her at all. Cassidy, our FMC, was naive, whiny and kind of pathetic, and we honestly didn’t even stay in her viewpoint long enough for me to have any sort of grasp on her personality, her wants in life, her dreams.. did she even have friends? hobbies? What even is her last name? Same as her father’s maybe? who really knows. This was a little disheartening for me as the reader because in this world that I’m unfamiliar with I can’t even seem to put my faith in our supposed heroine to lead me through.

The book kicks off after the short prologue with Cassidy on her birthday, after about 5 mins in her head I was already not a fan. She seemed like the really moody, depressed, antisocial, unappreciative teenager. Not really someone I could even say I would want to be friends with irl. Cassidy hates her birthday and runs through the whole drama mama cycle as her “family” tries all day to seemingly make this a great day for her.. I don’t think the book ever says why she hates her birthday, but I assumed its because she believes her mother died while giving birth to her.. but that could be wrong. This is one of the examples of the little holes the reader must figure out or make assumptions for themselves about. Another thing that kind of threw me, is at one point at the very beginning of the story Sara is referred to as her “stepsister” and later is referred to as her “half sister” but neither is ever explained like where Sara’s mom is etc, no info is given. While out and about on her birthday Cassidy and her “sister” run into Elijah and Darrien who seem to have some beef with each other and noone really finds it weird that Elijah’s coffee cup catches on fire during the altercation. Later Elijah shows up at Cassidy’s house with a completely unbelievable story casting everything in Cassidy’s life under scrutiny and basically telling her she is living a lie. From this point starts our adventure which mostly consists of a bunch of bickering and fighting and very little actual explanations on what in the world is going on and what anyone’s end goal is. Eventually we are left on the run, with really no more explanation that we began and a bunch of characters who’s in all honesty decisions make little or no sense to me.

All in all I never got close to DNFing this book, it made enough sense to keep me going and the concept was interesting enough for me to really want answers but it just lacked cohesiveness, a backstory I could understand and get behind, as well as at least one character that I really could bond with and get to know. These all may come later.. who knows as I am not quite sure if this is supposed to be a series or not.

* I received an advance copy of this book through BookSirens via the author in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.*

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