The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Adult Fiction Beach Reading Recommendations July 7, 2016

Jamie’s post about beach reads really made me think about some reads I’ve loved while I read at the beach, or during a long car ride. Hubs and I really enjoy listening to audiobooks instead of trying to surf radio channels. I’ve already featured non-contemporary young adult reads, non-fiction adult reads, and contemporary young adult reads. Now for the adult fiction reads we’ve enjoyed!

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  1. World War Z by Max Brooks. Hubs and I listened to the audiobook of this. It was FANTASTIC. Multi-person performance. MUCH better than the movie too.

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2. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. I read this while I was traveling in Italy & Greece in 2007. It was so neat to travel almost identically along to places Robert Langdon explored in Italy!

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3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I read this in France in 2006. It was an experience exploring Paris and reading this at the same time!

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4. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. Anything by Philippa Gregory is a great read! (excluding The Red Queen, but that’s a different story lol).

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5. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. So much better than the movie!

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6. In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener. Technically the third book in the series, Michelle Diener wrote these books to be read as standalones. Minimal advantage comes from reading the previous books. Review here.

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7. The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I didn’t finish the first time I attempted to read, I read it between Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I think I was expecting too much of Twilight influence and it was anything but. My second attempt was actually at the beach and I flew through it. I enjoyed it much better than the Twilight series.

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8. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. I’m not big on Christian lit, but I have loved the Left Behind series for years. I still really need to finish it! haha.

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9. Lamb The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. A hysterical historical fiction. I should actually do a re-read soon.

I don’t really read much adult fiction! Haha. There’s also a whole slew of Star Wars novels that I love too.

 

 

 

 

Goodbye June, Hello July! July 1, 2016

June started out to be a very promising reading month, and then turned out to be a bust haha. Hubs was gone to annual training for two weeks so I ended up staying at our office the full day every day which obviously, cut into home reading time. Though I had slow days, it was much easier to get some blog work done and stop in the middle of a post than stop in the middle of a good reading part. I could’ve done audiobooks since my mom was keeping the kids, but I ended up binge rewatching Reign and Agents of SHIELD. haha. We have a few vacations coming up in July and that will lead to lots of time in the car, so I should have a much better reading amount! I hope your June went well and have lots of exciting things coming up in July. We’ll be heading north for hubby’s sister’s wedding and the kids & I are heading to the beach with my mom and step-dad this month too! Good times for sure.

Books I read June (In order of completion)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

 

Coming Up in July

My sister-in-law’s wedding

Bug being a flower girl

VA trip

Beach trip

 

 

Goals for July

RELAX

Juggle mama life and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

July Releases I’m Excited For

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

DC SuperHero Girls

Magic Tree House: Night of the Ninth Dragon

 

July TBR

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond

 

 

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale: The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day: Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir: Memoir of Marguerite de Valois by Marguerite de Valois

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation: American Wife by Taya Kyle

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel: The Winner’s Curse & Bridge of Snow by Marie Rutkoski

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry: Holy Sonnets by John Donne

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography: The History of the Bloody Massacres of the Protestants in the Year of Our Lord, 1572 by Jacques Auguste de Thou

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

Goodbye October – February, Hello March! March 8, 2016

After another extended hiatus, I’ve decided I’m itching to get back to blogging. I’m not going to try to stick to a strict schedule right off the bat. Just kinda ease back into things. I am a stay at home mom and currently back in school to get my bachelor’s degree, so I’ll probably pop in and post every now and then. Try to get a few things scheduled ahead! Anyway, a quick recap of the end of 2015 and the start of 2016. October brought another birthday for me and Hallowe’en! I dressed up with the kiddos. I was Loki, Punk was Captain America, and Bug was her beloved Cinderella “Rella.” In November, my (ex)step-family lost a wonderful lady in my step-great-grandmother. She was truly a beautiful lady. Punk had a really hard time accepting that we lost my great-grandmother in July and then her in November. He wanted to know why we couldn’t go to Heaven and visit and why they couldn’t come back. It was a hard adjustment for him. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Northern Virginia with hubby’s family. It was a blast! It’s always a great time to get to go up and visit. I didn’t get to make it down to YALLFest, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to go this year. December brought a three week long military class for hubby. The kiddos had a pretty rough time with daddy gone. Poor Punk thought Daddy wouldn’t be home for Christmas. But! He was! And Christmas was fantastic. We celebrated Christmas at home this year and Santa was very good to the kiddos. Punk scored 13 different big boy Lego sets! He was in hog heaven! January brought a new chapter to my life. I (finally) started back taking classes to finish my bachelor’s degree in General Studies. All online classes, but it’s finally happening. February was rather uneventful. We’ve gotten some good snowfalls this year too! Now we’re up to March and I’m ready for spring (I think!)

 

A big thing that I want to change in getting back into blogging is that I’m not going to attempt to post every day and I’m also going to introduce a new feature. It’ll be called Friday Feasts and I’ll basically post a review of a meal we’ve done recently. We’re doing HelloFresh occasionally and I’ll definitely include those meals. AND if you’re interested, I do have a discount code if you’d like to try HelloFresh for yourself! Leave me a comment or shoot me a message on Twitter (@armywife2310)

 

Books I read October 2015 – February 2016 (In order of completion)

The Fiery Trial by Cassandra Clare

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

The Prophecy by Erin Rhew

The Outlanders by Erin Rhew

The Fulfillment by Erin Rhew

Born to Endless Night by Cassandra Clare

Angels Twice Descending by Cassandra Clare

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

This Night So Dark by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farm-boy by Alexandra Bracken

So You Want to Be a Jedi? by Adam Gidwitz

The Favourite by Kiera Cass

Beware the Power of the Dark Side by Tom Angleberger

Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

Beowulf by Unknown

 

Coming Up in March

SEYA Festival in Murfreesboro!

Spring Break (mine)

Spring Break (Punk)

Bug’s birthday

 

Goals for March

Juggle student life, mama life, and blogging life!

Write some reviews and posts

Try to get ahead and stay ahead on blogging

 

March Releases I’m Excited For

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

The Black Knife by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

 

March TBR

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Books for class

 

2016 Reading Challenge (completed in bold)

A book based on a fairy tale

A National Book Award Winner

A YA Bestseller

A book you haven’t read since high school

A book set in your home state

A book translated to English: Dream of the Rood by Cynewulf

A romance set in the future: Their Fractured Light by Aime Kaufman and Megan Spooner

A book set in Europe: The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory

A book that’s under 150 pages: The Hidden Prince by Jodi Meadows

A New York Times Bestseller

A book that’s becoming a movie this year

A book recommended by someone you just met

A self-improvement book

A book you can finish in a day

A book written by a celebrity

A political memoir

A book at least 100 years older than you: Beowulf by Unknown

A book that’s more than 600 pages

A book from Oprah’s Book Club

A science-fiction novel

A book recommended by a family member

A graphic novel

A book that is published in 2016

A book with a protagonist who has your occupation

A book that takes place during summer

A book and its prequel

A murder mystery

A book written by a comedian

A dystopian novel

A book with a blue cover: My True Love Gave to Me by Stephanie Perkins et al

A book of poetry

The first book you see in a bookstore

A classic from the 20th century

A book from the library

An autobiography

A book about a road trip

A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with

A satirical book

A book that takes place on an island

A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy

 

 

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday #61: Books Santa Can Put Under the Tree December 23, 2014

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books Santa Can Put Under the Tree

T’was the night before the night before Christmas and all through the house… blah blah blah. Santa, could you please leave these under the tree? 🙂

1. This Shattered World by Aime Kaufman & Megan Spooner


2. The Falconer by Elizabeth May


3. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor


4. The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory


5. The Young Elites by Marie Lu


6. Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley


7. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


8. Artemis Fowl The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer


9. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch


10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

 

Top Ten Tuesday #60: Favourite Reads of 2014 December 16, 2014

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Favourite Reads of 2014

So many great reads this year! It was nearly impossible to narrow my favourite reads to ten. Ask me again tomorrow, and it’s likely I will say a variation of these and maybe some others!

1. The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows


2. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski


3. Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano


4. The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory


5. Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White


6. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord


7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman


8. Rites of Passage by Joy Hensley


9. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


10. The Falconer by Elizabeth May

 

Please Be Kind, Rewind: 6 – 12 April 2014 April 12, 2014

I got a lot of work done this week and it was great. I love listening to audiobooks while I work so that’s why I’ve been loading the iPod up lately. It helps me knock out books that have been published and are on my TBR pile and leaves down time for ARCs. (: The kiddos and I are very happy that springtime has finally arrived. We’ve had the windows open all day the past few days and have gone outside to enjoy the sunshine. I surprised them by pulling out their water table the other day. They had a blast! I foresee a lot of reading outside while they play this summer! I’m looking forward to actually enjoying summer for the first time in the last few years. Newborn, pregnant, and then newborn the last three summers!  Maybe we’ll even be adventurous and try to walk to the library this year. MAYBE. haha. Hope your week’s been great! (:

Completed:
After the End (ARC) by Amy Plum

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (paperback and audiobook)



Currently Reading:

The Everything Mother Goose Book by June Rifkin (yes, we’re still working on it!)

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone by JK Rowling (audiobook)

The Falconer by Elizabeth May (ARC)


Read to the Kiddos:

Good Night Tennessee by Adam Gamble

D is for Duck Calls (eARC) by Kay Robertson

Three Little Dinosaurs by Charles Fuge

That’s Not My Fairy by Fiona Watt

Doc McStuffins A Knight in Sticky Armour by Andrea Posner-Sanchez


New to my shelf:


From the library:

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory (audiobook) 

The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (audiobook)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (audiobook)

Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier (audiobooks)

Cress by Marissa Meyer (audiobook)

Delirium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook)

The Elite by Kiera Cass (audiobook)

A bunch of other audiobooks. Our online library selection is great!

 

Top Ten Tuesday #34: Most Unique Books I’ve Read April 8, 2014

 

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Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. This is one of the most unique books I’ve read as far as historical fiction goes. It was an alternate reality changing during the 100 Years War between England and France. It also has magic as a common place occurrence. It was really interesting!

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman. I’ve never read a book from someone inside of Hitler’s circle during his rise to power in Germany. It was really interesting to see the beginning of his rise. I enjoyed watching Gretchen (the main character) question everything that Hitler said was true to figure out things herself about what was starting to happen in Germany.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I thought it was extremely interesting to read a book narrated by Death. It’s a perspective I’ve never read before and I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t always nice when he spoiled something that was upcoming, but I learned to take it in stride. Plus Roger Allam as Death in the audiobook was SUPERB! It was also the first book (that I recall) reading from the German perspective of World War II.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory. I’ve always been interested in King Richard III, but have never researched him as much as I would like. I was really intrigued by Philippa Gregory focusing on Anne Neville, who became Richard’s queen. I knew virtually nothing about her before I read it and then did a bit of research on her after I finished. I loved Aneurin Barnard and Faye Marsay’s portrayals of Richard and Anne in The White Queen.

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows. (You should’ve KNOWN Jodi would make the list!) Reincarnation. Wow. As far as immortality goes, I’ve always been drawn to vampire stories. I’ve never really thought about reincarnation as an option for immortality in a story, but Jodi does an incredible job with it! Plus her characters are top notch. *swoons for Cris*

Hourglass by Myra McEntire. Time rips and time travel? Yes, please! Myra also has a killer cast of incredible characters. I absolutely loved what she did with the idea of time bleeding together.

The Shadow Children series by Margaret Petersen Haddox. A dystopian without the post-apocalyptic events. Definitely a Big Brother type of government. Population control. In a world where it’s HIGHLY illegal to have more than two children, there’s a whole underground world of Shadow Children (illegal “extra” children). I never finished the series, but thinking about it for this list makes me want to go back and see what happened!

Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. I love a good vampire book. Darren Shan takes a different approach to vampires and how vampires are turned. (No sparkly vampires here!) Another series I’ve only read part way through. That’s the thing that sucks about “outgrowing” a reading level before a series is finished!

Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown. Oh, conspiracies. Things you thought couldn’t possible exist really do. They are so ridiculous formulaic, but I can’t help but love every story. Angels & Demons is my favourite!

Those are my top unique books! So some of them are series, but it works! (: Tell me, what unique books have you read? Feel free to leave a link to your page and I’ll come visit!

 

*Review* The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory July 14, 2013

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The Red Queen (The Cousin’s War)

Rating: 2 stars
Pub date: 3 Aug 2010
Publisher: Touchstone
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance, Adult Fiction
Format: Hardback, obtained from the Public Library

Book 2 of The Cousins’ War series

Summary
The second book in Philippa’s stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series – The White Queen – but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth’s daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

In all honesty, I was tempted to give up on this book. The magical and captivating character of Elizabeth Woodville made The White Queen a joy to read. I devoured each section and could hardly put it down. The opposite is true with The Red Queen . I really struggled. The sanctimonious, whiny, selfish, and narcissistic Margaret Beaufort is just a giant put off. If it weren’t for the worry of missing something in this book that might be referenced in the future series books, I would’ve probably abandoned it. That takes a lot from me. I don’t bail on books easily or lightly. Strictly based on the main character, I would’ve bailed. The historical time frame helped redeem it. I’m obsessed with all things Tudors and this is their matriarch.

It opens just before her first marriage to Edmund Tudor. All she cares about is her blasted “saint’s knees” from praying so much. It’s all she goes on about is how she has saints’ knees and she wants to be a Mother Superior of her own order. She’s obsessed with Joan of Arc, and honestly, I think she blows Joan of Arc’s position out of proportion. She wants people to comment on her piety and she goes to great lengths to advertise how pious she is. She flaunts it and baits people to comment. In this ambitious time of England, no one cares about how much you pray. Everyone cares about which house you support: York or Lancaster. Margaret is from the Lancaster house and is the heir apparent to it. This doesn’t jive in this male dominated world. She laments at not being well-educated though she is much more educated than most girls of the time. This is a world that a woman is only good for the sons she will bare.

At twelve, she is married off to Edmund Tudor, half-brother of the current King of England, Henry VI. She constantly complains that he does his husbandly duty and doesn’t allow her to pray 24/7. She complains that he’s constantly away with his brother Jasper. She complains that she’s in the middle of nowhere in Wales. She complains about the language, the staff of the household, the food, anything and everything to anyone and everyone within earshot.

She finds herself pregnant and is little more than a child herself. War is brewing in the land as the Yorks are unhappy with their lot of being a minor royal house and think themselves better than the Lancaster rulers. Doesn’t help things that Henry VI is slowly losing his touch with reality. Margaret relates this to herself and says they are both chosen by God to do His will and the king is just seeing visions. Things keep getting worse and her husband is captured and dies before her baby is born. Jasper returns to her just before she delivers. Her mother has given orders to the ladies in waiting to order the midwives that if it comes to choosing between the mother and the baby to save the baby. Save the baby above all costs ESPECIALLY if it is a boy. Margaret realises she is worthless as a girl. She has a long and difficult delivery, but finally gives birth to a boy. Jasper wants to name the child after his father, but Margaret claiming divine intervention and the usual that she’s been directed to name the child Henry and he shall be a King of England.

She finds out that she is to be married off again. This time to a man much older than she is. Her first husband was already more than 10 years older and now this husband is even older than the first. He is the second son of the Duke of Buckingham. She comes to see that her new husband is much kinder than Tudor, but she thinks him a coward because he does not wish to get involved in the chaos that is consuming England. She constantly nags him about joining the cause and fighting for her, her son who is the heir of the Lancasters, and for his king. He politely points out that he is keeping them sage by staying out of the fighting. She keeps believing he’s a coward. She is so naive about her views of the world and how “wronged” she has been. Her son was third from the throne while Henry VI was king, and is now completely disinherited while Edward of York sits on the throne. *Her* throne. She fails to remember that throne passes to the males. She begins to obsess over Edward of York and his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. She deems Elizabeth to be sub par and of inferior birth and a waste of space. She obsesses over the fact it should be her by Edward’s side if things had played out better. She switches from calling Elizabeth a whore and a witch and celebrates that she is more holy and educated. She has been touched by the hand of God, but that harlot sits on the throne and pops out babies every time you turn around! She constantly prays for their deaths and the deaths of their children. Not something a saint should be concerned with, in my opinion.

Her husband dies and she then obsesses about wedding Edward instead of him being married to that witch. But he’ll want to have all sorts of sex and expect her to get pregnant and have babies, and she’s a saint and shouldn’t do that stuff. Seriously, this is her thought process. I want this, but I’m a saint. My son should be king, because I’m a saint. I have saints’ knees and should sign my name as Margaret R.

She decides to break the year of mourning and approaches husband number three. He’s a lord in his own right and she petitions marriage, with no sex, and she keeps her lands. Lord Stanley accepts because he’s in it for himself too. His family’s motto is Sans Changer and they do anything but STOP changing. Where Stafford (husband 2) didn’t want to fight at all, Stanley waits to see who the winning side will be THEN charge into battle.

Edward dies, and the Queen flees into sanctuary with the royal children, except the Prince of Wales who is escorted to the royal apartments at the Tower so the Lord Protector, Richard of Gloucester, can make coronation preparations. Then he has the royal children declared illegitimate and seizes the throne for himself. Cue more sainthood claiming and throne loss lamenting. There’s a failed uprising, disgrace – resulting in losing her lands and wealth to her husband and is sent into exile. The new Queen dies and to save his royal niece/lover from scandal she is sent to live with Margaret. A battle for supreme childish bitch starts.

Finally, it boils down to Henry Tudor versus King Richard III on the battleground. England is torn apart again. Back the Lancaster claimant who grew up in exile or back the usurper who stole the throne from his brother’s son and most likely had his two nephews executed? Battle ensues and at the last moment, the Stanley armies swoop in to aid Tudor. Richard is executed and his body just dumped (cue best game of hide and seek EVER!). His crown is stripped from his head and given to Tudor who becomes Henry VII and the first of the Tudor dynasty. Word makes it back to Margaret that her son won and all she cares about is that she gets to sign her name as Margaret R.

That’s about it. Despite a huge war-torn time period, this book really lacks in action until the last bit. That’s about it in the redeeming aspect. Will I read it again? Possibly. Anytime soon? Not a chance. I am looking forward to the next book though. It HAS to be better than this!

 

 
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